Leaked internal budget and strategy documents for a Super PAC supporting Republican presidential frontrunner Rick Perry show that the committee is prepared to outspend the candidate they support.
Make Us Great Again, the largest of several Super PACs supporting the Texas governor (in late August the group absorbed the Americans for Rick Perry PAC), plans to spend $45 million by March, and at least $55 million by late June 2012, according to documents obtained by MSNBC.
The Super PAC's spending may even eclipse that of Perry's actual campaign.
Due to his late entry into the race in mid-August, Perry has yet to file fundraising reports with the Federal Election Committee. It looks as if he will raise funds as quickly as he has risen in the polls: The Center for Public Integrity reported that Perry had between 400 and 1,000 bundlers committed to raising between $50,000 and $500,000 each. The next FEC quarterly filing deadline is October 15.
Super PACs such as Make Us Great Again are a new political animal, created by the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Unlike the candidates themselves, Super PACs can accept unlimited donations and spend that money to promote views in support of or against federal candidates. The groups cannot coordinate directly with the candidates themselves.
In the 2010 midterm elections, conservative Super PACs spent $34.7 million altogether, while liberal-linked Super PACs spent about $28 million. The groups' spending in their first presidential election is expected to far exceed that.
"The Super PAC will probably outspend the legal presidential deal," Scott Reed, a veteran GOP strategist, told MSNBC. "Look, these Super PACs have changed the way presidential campaigns are run."
According to the document, Make Us Great Again will make a $5 million media buy with Fox News within the next month. Between late September and the end of the year, $20 million is slated for media in early primary states. Another $20 million will go toward a "nomination push" between January and March 2012 and $10 million will stretch through the rest of the spring.
Jason Miller, a spokesman for Make Us Great Again, brushed off the document, which was provided by a Perry supporter to MSNBC.
"You're referring to an early planning document that is now outdated," he said in an emailed statement. "As the dynamics of this primary have changed, so have our targeting and spending."