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Archive for the ‘Money & Democracy Update’ Category

Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $718 million: Total amount spent by all presidential candidates in 2004
  • $745 million: Amount President Barack Obama spent to get elected in 2008 – a new record
  • $1 billion: Amount Obama is expected to raise and spend on his 2012 re-election campaign
  • $1.3 billion: Total amount spent by all presidential candidates in 2008

Republicans reap benefits of being in power
Just before the midterm elections, when it was pretty clear that Republicans would be taking over the House of Representatives, industry interests lavished hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawmakers slated to be chairs of influential committees. These include committees overseeing tax policy, energy matters and the implementation of the new health care law. “People bet on winners,” Craig Holman, money and politics expert at Public Citizen, told USA Today. (more…)

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Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • 69: Number of preliminary reviews conducted by the Office of Congressional Ethics over the past two years
  • 11: Number of disciplinary actions meted out by the House ethics committee during that time
  • 10: Number of disciplinary actions meted out by the House ethics committee between 1997 and 2008, before the Office of Congressional Ethics was created

U.S. Supreme Court takes aim at Arizona clean elections law
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case challenging Arizona’s clean elections law. Under the system, if candidates forgo private fundraising and adhere to spending limits, they can receive public money after raising a set number of $5 donations. The law permits candidates to receive extra money if their opponent spends more than a certain amount. Good government advocates worry that the Supreme Court is gearing up to once again erode laws designed to curb corporate influence of elections.

U.S. Chamber’s election spending raises eyebrows among shareholders
Investors in four corporations that sit on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – IBM, Pfizer, Pepsi and Accenture – are raising concerns about the Chamber’s political spending and agenda. Through the shareholder resolutions, investors challenged their corporate boards to review their policies relating to political expenditures. One of the resolution’s filers said in a press release that “[t]he Chamber of Commerce is an aggressively (more…)

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Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • 308: The number of outside groups, excluding party committees, that reported spending money on this year’s elections
  • 166: The number of those groups that provided any information about the sources of their funding
  • $266.4 million: The total amount spent by all outside groups in 2010 to influence this year’s elections
  • 27.1: Percentage of disclosed campaign expenditures from outside groups

Wanted: Nightlight to show voters in the dark just who was funding those attack ads
The U.S. Senate should pass a version of the DISCLOSE Act following the onslaught of undisclosed corporate campaign contributions in the 2010 elections, six good government groups said at a press conference this week at the steps of the U.S. Capitol. A version that strips some of the more controversial items from the legislation and focuses on disclosure is a vital first step to protecting the integrity of American elections, said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. Such a measure would require the funders of broadcast ads to own up to their political expenditures. At the press conference, Public Citizen also released a report showing that the amount of information available to voters about who was behind midterm attack ads was dramatically less than in previous years.

Anti-gay organizations spent nearly $1 million to oust three Iowa justices
Three Iowa Supreme Court justices lost their jobs in the midterms after five out-of-state organizations spent $948,355 to boot them from office. The groups’ gripe? They didn’t like a 2009 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.  (more…)

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Citizens UnitedStunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $97: The amount per vote spent by Nevada Republican Sharron Angle and Connecticut Republican Linda McMahon – a record
  • $69: The amount per vote spent by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
  • $33: The average cost of a vote in the midterms

October saw record number of political ads on TV
A record number of political ads ran on TV in October – even more than during the same month in 2008, when the presidential contest was in its final month. An estimated 1.48 million political ads aired on TV last month, compared to 1.41 million in October 2008. Hot spots for ads were Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif. and Seattle, Wash. Wow. Can’t wait for 2012.

Counting noses: How to get the DISCLOSE Act passed
Time is running out for advocates of disclosure to get the DISCLOSE Act passed – a measure designed to make public the funders of political ads and introduced in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which gave corporations (more…)

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Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $73 million: Amount of his own money that Rick Scott spent on his successful bid for governor of Florida
  • 62%: Percentage of Florida voters who say they have reservations about Scott

Winning candidates rode a wave of spending by outside groups
Outside groups put their money behind the winners in 58 of the 74 races in which power changed hands Tuesday, according to a new Public Citizen analysis. In only 14 contests did the loser benefit more from spending by outside groups.

Spend more, win more…
Republican-leaning political organizations spent $167 million on the midterm elections and won almost twice as many races as they lost. In particular, two groups co-launched by Republican strategist Karl Rove—American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS—backed the victor in 23 of the 36 House of Representatives and Senate races where a winner was declared.

…But money doesn’t always guarantee success
Not everyone who broke open the bank account prevailed this week. Several wealthy candidates lost despite spending eye-popping sums. Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO, spent $142 million to become California’s next governor, but she still lost to Democrat Jerry Brown. And in Connecticut, former wrestling (more…)

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Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $7 million: Amount Republican donor Bob J. Perry, who helped finance the Swift Boat Veterans campaign against presidential candidate John Kerry, has given to the conservative group American Crossroads for the upcoming election
  • $4.8 million: Amount given to American Crossroads by Robert Rowling, CEO of a company whose holdings include Omni Hotels
  • $15 million: Amount American Crossroads raised in 43 days
  • $24.1 million: Amount American Crossroads has raised this year

FEC should investigate American Future Fund, groups say

American Future Fund, a conservative nonprofit group pouring money into the 2010 midterm elections, appears to be violating campaign finance law, watchdog groups said in a complaint filed this week with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The agency should investigate whether American Future Fund must register as a political committee, which would make it subject to recordkeeping, reporting and disclosure requirements.

Stealth PACs database unveiled

With record amounts of secret money being funneled through nonprofit organizations to influence the upcoming elections, Public Citizen has created an Internet database to track the activity. The new Stealth PACs database, available here, tracks more than 100 groups that are working to influence the elections with large contributions from corporations, unions or wealthy individuals in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s January 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That ruling gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts to influence elections (more…)

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Stunning Statistics of the Week:

Groups demonstrate in front of U.S. Chamber
A lively demonstration was held in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week to protest the Chamber’s reported use of foreign money to pay for campaign attack ads. The Chamber is raising tens of millions of dollars to help Republicans take back Congress.

The Chamber fires back
The Chamber launched a broadside on Think Progress, which issued the above mentioned report about the Chamber using foreign money (more…)

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