There’s more money than ever flowing into this year’s presidential election – a projected $5 billion by November, according to some estimates. That’s about twice what was spent in 2012.
As our new radio episode explains, a lot of that cash is reaching candidates by way of super political action committees, organizations that can raise and spend unlimited funds, thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Yet determining a super PAC’s affiliation can be difficult because many have vague names. That’s intentional: Research has shown that people are more likely to trust an ad if it’s not clearly tied to a party or candidate.
That got us thinking: Could people in our own newsroom identify super PACs’ political leanings based solely on their names? We picked a handful of prominent super PACs from the Center for Responsive Politics’ database, then put members of our staff in the hot seat.
Watch what happened:
Want to play the Super PAC Name Game yourself? Test your election savvy here.
Byard Duncan is a reporter and producer for engagement and collaborations for Reveal. He manages Reveal’s Reporting Networks, which provide more than 1,000 local journalists across the U.S. with resources and training to continue Reveal investigations in their communities. He also helps lead audience engagement initiatives around Reveal’s stories and assists local reporters in elevating their work to a national platform. In addition to Reveal, Duncan’s work has appeared in GQ, Esquire, The California Sunday Magazine and Columbia Journalism Review, among other outlets. He was part of Reveal’s Behind the Smiles project team, which was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2019. He is the recipient of two Edward R. Murrow Awards, a National Headliner Award, an Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, and two first-place awards for feature storytelling from the Society of Professional Journalists and Best of the West. Duncan is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.
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Rachel de Leon is a reporter and producer for TV and documentaries for Reveal. De Leon has worked in video for more than 10 years as a videographer and producer. Throughout 2017, she was the coordinating producer for Glassbreaker Films – an initiative from The Center for Investigative Reporting to support female filmmakers – helping to produce five half-hour documentaries for national and festival distribution, and more than 20 online minidocumentaries. In 2016, she won two Emmys for her work on the web series "The Dead Unknown" and the PBS NewsHour segment "Deadly Oil Fields." In 2014, she completed her first short documentary, “Cab City,” for her master’s thesis in the documentary program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. De Leon is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.
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