At least $16 million has been spent on political ads in Iowa ahead of today’s GOP caucuses. Much of this comes from new Super PACs — the post-Citizens United political groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money — which have played an unprecedented role in the race this year. Outside expenditure groups spent just $1.5 million in the state in the 2004 cycle, and $3.4 million in 2008. This year, that amount has been around $6 million, with much more spending expected in upcoming states’ primaries.
The flood of money into politics after the Supreme Court’s Citizens decision has worried progressives, who are concerned about their candidates being drowned by corporations’ deep pockets. But today, conservative former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee — who won the Iowa GOP Caucus in 2008 — condemned the rise of Super PACs.
Speaking on Fox News, Huckabee objected to the way that Super PACs allow campaigns to stay out of the fray while unidentifiable “snipers from the trees” (the PACs) run negative attack ads against opponents. Calling the outside money groups “one of the worst things that ever happened in American politics,” Huckabee said they have “killed civility.” He called for great transparency, saying anyone who gives money to fund attack ads should have to put their name on them:
HUCKABEE: And I think one of the worst things that ever happened in American politics is the rise of the independent expenditure groups that really don’t have accountability. You don’t know where this money is coming from. You don’t know where the accountability is coming from, and the candidates have no coordination. […]
I wish that every person who gives any money [to fund an ad] that mentions any candidate by name would have to put their name on it and be held responsible and accountable for it. And its killing any sense of civility in politics because the cheap shots that can be made from the trees by snipers that you never can identify. It’s just the worst part of this process.