What donors? Super PACs buy time to keep secrets

By JACK GILLUM | January 7, 2012 | 3:41 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Independent political groups backing Republican candidates are taking advantage of federal rules that effectively allow them to shield the identities of their donors until after primary elections this month.

These political action committees, known as super PACs, notified federal election regulators in recent weeks that they intend to file their financial reports every month. Those requests, once approved, effectively will allow the groups to hold off disclosing the names of their contributors until after primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Without the change, those groups would have had to file reports before the GOP primaries.

The subtle administrative change is significant as such groups are expected to play a crucial role in the election.