Super PAC campaign spending may have yielded dismal returns during the 2012 election cycle, but big money will likely make a return in future elections.
The landmark Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court determined that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. That ruling led to the rise of the so-called super PACs: massive political action committees which pump billions of dollars into elections.
One of the more prominent super PACs, the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads, put just 1.29% of its estimated $104,710,427 into elections where its preferred candidate won. Panel members on Up With Chris Hayes Sunday said that big money will learn from its mistakes and try again.
Conservative billionaire super PAC backers are "going to get a lot better at this," said Neil Barofsky, former special inspector general of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). "This is really a blunt instrument."
One of Sunday's guests, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), was one of the primary targets of conservative super PAC spending this year, with organizations such as American Crossroads putting more than $40 million into trying to defeat him. On the show, Brown said that big donors such as Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson have good reason to keep gambling with super PACs because they have a lot to lose if Congress passes more financial regulation.
"He's still a major player, and they'll be back," Brown said.
Although conservative super PACs were unable to sway the presidential race or most Senate races, they had more success lower on the ballot and in state legislatures, said Brown—particularly on issues including women's rights and collective bargaining.