Human Rights Campaign forms a super PAC for next year

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Andrew Cuomo and a rainbow flag. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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Human Rights Campaign will be spending freely in 2012.

According to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission, the gay-rights group has formed an independent expenditure committee, more commonly known as a "super PAC," which will allow it to raise and spend unlimited sums to promote its causes.

Liberal groups have been slow to wade into the murky waters of independent expenditures, with Democrats initially criticizing Republican groups for accepting large donations, often from anonymous donors. But, after seeing the impact the groups had in 2010, left-leaning groups have steadily joined in, led by President Obama's own super PAC, Priorities USA Action, which is run by a former aide.

Several of those liberal groups have struggled to raise the money of their conservative counterparts, in part because many wealthy Democrats are also proponents of campaign-finance reform, and therefore reluctant to undermine their position by taking advantage of what they consider a corrosive, if gaping, loophole in the rules.

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Human Rights Campaign is coming off a high-profile victory in New York, where it lobbied for the historic same-sex marriage bill that passed in June, and has had considerable success raising money in previous cycles.

According to Open Secrets, which labels the group a "Heavy Hitter," Human Rights Campaign spent nearly $1.5 million dollars on federal campaigns in 2008, and $1.9 million in 2004.

A spokesman for the HRC could not immediately be reached for comment.