The super PAC supporting Mitt Romney has emerged from a slumber to overtake the pro-President Obama super PAC with a major ad buy.
It has purchased $7.2 million in advertising, including $400,000 online. The buy catapults the super PAC’s spending since April 1 from $10 million to $17 million, passing the Obama-blessed super PAC, Priorities USA, which has spent $15 million. The buys took place Tuesday and were disclosed to the Federal Election Commission Thursday.
Since the Republican primary cooled off, the Romney super PAC’s ad buys slowed as it stockpiled cash. After an extremely active primary season, its spending decreased from $14 million in January to $2 million in May and $7 million in June.
Most super PAC ads have been negative. Mr. Romney’s PAC last aired a positive ad Jan. 3. Its spending has been focused on Mr. Obama, rather than Republican rivals, since later that month.
Super PACs were created after a series of 2010 court decisions and can accept unlimited money from sources including corporations, unions and nonprofits,including those who don’t disclose their own sources of funding, and spend it as they see fit, as long as they don’t coordinate directly with candidates.
But both the Romney and Obama super PACs are run by onetime campaign staffers.
The Romney super PAC raised $20 million from 148 people in June, the last month for which figures are available — half of which came from former Newt Gingrich supporter Sheldon Adelson, $2 million from profligate giver and homebuilder Bob Perry, and $1 million from a corporation connected to one of the Koch brothers.
On the pro-Obama side, with $1 million from actor Morgan Freeman; $2 million from Irwin M. Jacobs, a founder of Qualcomm; and another million from Fred Eychaner of Newsweb Corp., who has become one of the party’s biggest donors, Priorities USA raised $6 million and spent nearly $8 million.
In third place among super PAC spending since April is American Crossroads, a Karl Rove-linked Republican group, at $11 million. On the Democratic side, the Senate-focused super PAC the Majority PAC has spent $5.5 million, and the Service Employees International Union has spent $4 million.