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SuperPAC debate intensifies after Massie primary win

by Joe Arnold


Posted on June 4, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 4 at 10:17 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is defending his support of unlimited campaign spending by independent groups after a Texas-based SuperPAC swamped Kentucky airwaves in the Fourth District Congressional Primary.

Liberty For All spent more than $500,000 on Massie's successful candidacy.

"I think it shows that if you spend a million dollars and run a good campaign, you're likely to win," McConnell said of Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie's GOP primary win.  "Massie ran a campaign, a very effective campaign.  It was an outside group that spent a lot of money on his behalf in a crowded field."

Liberty for All is part of a new wave of independent expenditure groups free to spend as much as they can raise courtesy the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court's Citizen United decision.  The groups are not allowed to coordinate with the actual campaigns, however.

Liberty For All is bankrolled by 21 year old Texas college student John Ramsey.  Spending money he inherited from his grandfather and subsequent donations, Ramsey is now targeting other races.

"It's a humbling experience to be able to be involved in this freedom movement," Ramsey said in a video posted on the SuperPAC's website.  "It's truly just a beautiful aspect of life."

"This has been a very damaging decision as far as I am concerned in terms of Democracy and the country," said U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky Third Congressional District).

Yarmuth is behind a proposed Constitutional amendment that says campaign cash is not protected speech.  Instead, it would set up publicly funded campaigns for federal elections.

Yarmuth is applauding Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway for joined a Montana challenge to Citizens United.

"And this case in Montana could allow the Supreme Court to revisit Citizens United very quickly," Yarmuth said.  "and I am sure that there are some of the justices on the court who voted for Citizens United who have second guessed their decision."

Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer have petitioned the court to reconsider the case.

Yet, McConnell is steadfast in his support of the Citizens United Decision.

"I think it was a great decision," McConnell said.  "I think the fact that we have more people participating now than ever, they're not just all on the political left, is a great thing for the country."

Even if it's a 21 year old college student in Texas.

"Everybody's got a right to speak," McConnell said.