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Posts Tagged ‘campaign contributions’

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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Public Citizen joined Democracy 21, The League of Women Voters, the Campaign Legal Center, People for the American Way and Common Cause this week in calling for the U.S. Senate to pass a pared-down version of the DISCLOSE Act. This past election, which saw a flood of anonymous corporate donations pay for a record amount of political advertising, underscores the need for disclosure, the groups said. Above is Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. After the jump is a video featuring Common Cause President Bob Edgar. (more…)

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E.J. Dionne Jr. in the WaPo says that if the lame duck Congress has a spine, it would reconsider the DISCLOSE Act in the final days of its term. The DISCLOSE Act would make the outside groups that are raising money for “independent” political ads disclose who is paying for the ads. As we saw this past election, corporations and wealthy donors can give anonymously to these front groups and unions and avoid accountability to voters. Dionne writes:

Shortly after the election, Michael Isikoff and Rich Gardella of NBC News reported that one of the big Republican secret-money groups, Crossroads GPS, got “a substantial portion” of its money “from a small circle of extremely wealthy Wall Street hedge fund and private equity moguls.” These contributors “have been bitterly opposed to a proposal by congressional Democrats – and endorsed by the Obama administration – to increase the tax rates on compensation that hedge funds pay their partners.”

It shouldn’t take investigative reporting after the fact for voters to learn such things. [Sens.] Snowe, Collins and Brown say they are for disclosure, as does Mark Kirk, the new Republican senator from Illinois. Senate Democratic leaders should give them a chance to prove it by bringing up the bill.

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Today’s Flickr photo

Flickr photo by WarmSleepy.

If you read one thing today . . .

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could create a set of campaign finance laws that didn’t have loopholes you could drive a truck through? Alas, we’ll just have to keep dreaming. The New York Times’ Michael Luo writes about 2012 GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty and how they’ve been avoiding federal rules by raising money — contributions many times bigger than what federal law allows — through state-regulated political action committees.

The money, which has gone to the politicians’ “leadership PACs,” is not allowed to be used to fuel a presidential run, but it often acts as seed money to help raise a potential candidate’s national profile and provide financing to other politicians who can help him later. The contributions can also build an infrastructure of staff, offices and donors that can be later transformed into a full-fledged campaign, but this kind of spending also carries the potential of tripping over campaign finance laws.

The outsize contributions are possible because while donations to federal PACs are limited to $5,000, many state-based entities have no such limits. Some can also take donations from corporations and unions, which federal PACs cannot directly do.

Overheard:

Some Democratic fundraisers are meeting this week in Washington, D.C. where they are playing Monday morning quarterback on this year’s midterm elections. Among the things they’ll debate, according to Andy Kroll in Mother Jones, is whether they should fight fire with fire. That is, whether they should do what the conservatives and the GOP did so successfully this past year, which was to raise massive amounts of money through outside groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s Crossroads. Democratic fundraiser and former Clinton staffer Harold Ickes says Democrats have to pull out all the stops:

“Is small money better? You bet,” Ickes says. “But we’re in a f*cking fight. And if you’re in a fistfight, then you’re in a fistfight, and you use all legal means available.”

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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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Weissman

A staggering amount of money—$3.7 billion and counting—has been spent on the 2010 midterm elections that will be decided today.

Please join me at noon (EDT) this Wednesday, November 3, for a live, interactive online presentation: “Corporate Money and the Midterm Elections.”

I’ll review—and take your questions about—the election results, the unprecedented levels of corporate spending, and Public Citizen’s ongoing work to preserve democracy for We, the People.

This one-hour webinar is free and open to the public. Space is limited, so just fill out this simple registration form to reserve your virtual seat: www.citizen.org/election-webinar-registration

With the economy in crisis—and the Obama administration having made a fatal political (and policy) error by embracing Bush’s Wall Street bailout—corporations have sought to exploit an electorate that is, quite rightfully and understandably, outraged.

And the Supreme Court’s massively misguided decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has permitted corporations to spend all the money they want trying to influence your vote.

I hope you can join me and hundreds of fellow Public Citizens for the “Corporate Money and the Midterm Elections” webinar.

Take just a moment and register now so that you can join us!

Thank you.

P.S. No matter how much money Big Business spends to drown out the voice of the people, there is still one way to make your voice heard: Vote. If you haven’t participated in early voting, please be sure to vote today.

Robert Weissman is president of Public Citizen.

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Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • 149: Number of independent groups that have spent money to influence this year’s elections (according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports through Oct. 25)
  • $176.1 million: Amount those groups have spent on the midterms
  • 10: Number of groups responsible for the bulk of that spending
  • 59.9 percent: The percentage of that money that comes from undisclosed sources

Public Citizen calls on electioneering groups to disclose corporate donors
Public Citizen has sent a letter to all groups that are conducting electioneering communications or independent expenditures in the 2010 elections, urging them to disclose to the public the sources and amounts of corporate contributions they use for their campaign spending.

Disclosed corporate funds are a fraction of what is hidden, heavily favor Republicans
Tapping into what few disclosure records exist of campaign spending by outside groups in the 2010 elections, Public Citizen has identified about 200 corporate contributors to a mere 29 independent groups that have reported their funding sources to the Federal Election Commission. These disclosure records account for (more…)

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