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Super PAC

A form of political actions committee that is permitted to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for or against a candidate. They must report contributions and spending — known as independent expenditures — to the Federal Election Commission.

Read more about super PACs.

Independent Expenditures

The unlimited amounts that individuals, companies, unions or other advocacy groups may spend to promote the election or defeat of a candidate – so long as they do not coordinate their efforts with any candidate. Also known as IEs and "outside spending," these outlays must be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission.

Read more about independent expenditures.

PAC trio sets new standard in early spending on a re-election

An unprecedented burst of spending by outside groups is heralding the start of President Trump's re-election campaign. "Independent expenditures for multiple hybrid-PACs advocating for Trump's candidacy totaled over $1.27 million since the start of this year," the Center for Responsive Politics reports, while at a similar point in President Obama's re-election campaign such spending totaled a few hundred thousand dollars.

And the three outside spending groups dominating this effort are all linked to Dan Backer, a prominent attorney advocating for a loosening of campaign finance rules: the Committee to Defend the President, the Great America PAC and America Fighting Back PAC.

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