A handful of very rich men and women are shaping this year's election by giving large sums of money to powerful super PACs. So who are they?
<p> Reports indicate that this may be <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/c/campaign_finance/index.html">the most expensive election</a> in the history of the United States. That's in part because donors can now contribute unlimited amounts of money to super PACs, organizations that are technically independent of a candidate’s campaign but may still influence an election through ads or other means. (Individuals can only donate $2,500 directly to a political campaign, but both individuals and corporations can give unlimited sums to super PACs.) Most super PACs "support" their candidate by tearing down his or her opponent, and as a result the most effective ads rarely focus on an accurate portrayal of the facts. </p><p> What is troubling is not only that these attack ads <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/02/13/120213fa_fact_mayer">rarely concern themselves with the truth</a>, or that they unduly affect elections—though those are both problems—but that most super PAC activity is funded by a tiny minority of wealthy individuals and corporations. That means that Corporate America and a few rich donors have a disproportionate influence over political outcomes. Hurrah for democracy, right?</p><p> Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig recently <a href="http://www.good.is/post/good-talks-lawrence-lessig-on-money-and-political-corruption">spoke about this issue</a> at the GOOD offices in Los Angeles. To help spread awareness that just a few people are funding the most powerful super PACs on both sides of the race, Lessig and his group Rootstrikers have just <a href="http://www.rootstrikers.org/the_true_identity_behind_superpacs">released the infographic above</a> showing who's giving money and exactly how much.</p><p> The system is clearly broken. If you want to help fix it, consider <a href="http://www.theanticorruptionpledge.org/">signing Lawrence Lessig’s anti-corruption pledge</a> today and encouraging your representative to do the same. </p>
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