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How Much Are Super PACs Spending To Control Our State Senate? A Lot!

Illustration for article titled How Much Are Super PACs Spending To Control Our State Senate? A Lot!

Yesterday the New York Post published a laugher about how some scary poor, mostly brown people and some unions had scraped together $221,000 and were spending it to steal all our democracies with a new Zombie ACORN Super PAC. It was hilarious because, in the very same article, the Post mentioned all the other folks, vulture hedge funders, NYC real estate vampires and the pro-charter school people were spending enormous amounts of cash to better steal all our democracies. In fact, one such group, funded in part by the hedge funder currently trying to murder Argentina for fun and profit, is spending more than three times the poors entire budget in just one sleepy upstate Senate district.


So how much are all these Super PACs spending to take or keep control of our lousy state Senate? A lot!

To date, the independent political action committees, which can raise and spend as much as they want, have pumped $14 million into races that will determine the fate of the Senate.

The big-money free-for-all is pitting New York City real state, business, and charter school interests—which support the Republicans — against the teachers unions and other liberal activists backing the Dems.


The bulk of their donations in New York State are going to fund ads and campaign literature in a handful of upstate races and benefit the Republicans.


Don't you love that second paragraph? A bunch of the richest people in New York, if not the world vs some teachers unions and "other liberal activists." Also, $14 million is a lot of freaking money, the kind of money that would've been unthinkable just a few cycles ago here in New York State. And you can thank our completely absurd and thoroughly useless campaign finance laws and our old friend, the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

Under the law, an individual can only donate a maximum $10,300 to a Senate candidate or $102,300 to a party committee.

But thanks to a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts as long as they don't coordinate their efforts with the campaigns they are supporting.


Where's all this money coming from, you ask?

They come from real estate and hedge fund interests, which want GOP control of the state Senate because key laws governing rent regulations and mayor control of the schools expire next year.

The real estate industry wants to weaken rent regulation, and hedge funds are big backers of charters.

Balance New York, a pro-business PAC, has spent $1.186 million on behalf of Senate Republican candidates.


The Washington-based Republican Leadership Committee has donated $1 million to the PAC while hedge fund manager Paul Singer wrote a $500,000 check.

Singer this year has donated a total of $1 million to Super PACs, $102,300 to the state Senate Republican Campaign Committee and $25,000 to the state Conservative Party. He has also maxed out his donations to nine Senate GOP candidates.

A pro-charter Super PAC, New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, has spent $3.9 million on Senate Republican candidates, with Julian Robertson, a city-based retired hedge fund manger whose son runs a Red Hook, Brooklyn, charter, and hedgefunder Daniel Loeb each giving $1 million.

Jobs for New York, a super PAC funded by real estate interests, has spent $1.75 million this year. The Durst Organization donated $146,100, Tishman Speyer Development gave $168,300 and Extell Development — builders of the Upper West Side "poor door" building — threw in $100,000.


Don't worry though. The teachers have spent $3.8 million so we're all good. There's "balance."

Follow The Albany Project on Twitter and Facebook.

(image via the ever awesome Down With Tyranny.)

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