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Posts Tagged ‘political advertising’

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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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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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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Today’s Flickr photo

Anti-drilling protestors in Istanbul, Turkey. Flickr photo by 350.org.

If you read one thing today . . .

NPR has an interesting flowchart of all the “independent” money pouring into this year’s midterm elections. The accompanying story breaks down this “Web of GOP influence,” showing a how a handful of corporate front groups are working together, literally out of the same suite of offices. NPR’s Peter Overby and Andrea Seabrook explain:

Their ads seem to imply the groups are homegrown. But every single one mentioned here is based within 20 minutes of Capitol Hill. Most of them, in fact, are in just two office suites.

As for their independence: It would be illegal for them to coordinate their attacks with the candidates they’re helping, or with Republican Party committees. But among themselves, they’re proud of the way they synchronize their efforts.

“If one group puts an ad on television in a certain congressional district, they let everyone else know that,” says Jonathan Collegio with American Crossroads. “This way they don’t double up on the advertising.”

Overheard:

We’re actually going to be a little sad to see Arnold Schwarzenegger step down as governor of California. We don’t agree with everything the governator does but he’s right on the money when it comes to Washington’s fealty to the oil industry. He told ABC’s Diane Sawyer that Congress is filled with a bunch of gutless wimps:

“We need to go to Washington and say, look what happened … because oil companies have spent money against you, they have threatened you, you backed off the energy policy and the environmental policy in Washington. What wimps. No guts. I mean, here, you idolize and always celebrate the great warriors. Our soldiers, our men and women who go to Iraq and Afghanistan, and they’re risking their lives to defend this country and you’re not even willing to stand up against the oil companies. … That’s disgusting. You promised the people you’d represent them. You didn’t promise the people you’d represent the oil companies and the special interests.”

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Public Citizen, Protect Our Elections and the Center for Media and Democracy today filed a complaint against the American Future Fund, charging that the group’s “major purpose” is electioneering, which would require it to register as a political committee.

Although the Supreme Court and other federal courts have shredded most laws relating to outside groups’ electioneering activities, such a finding would at least require AFF to reveal the sources of its funds.

The group, which has spent nearly $8.8 million to influence this years elections, has so far made no such disclosure.

Such secrecy is particularly hypocritical for this group because it has broadcast ads slamming the imam behind the proposed mosque in southern Manhattan for allegedly “raising millions overseas from secret donors.” Evidently, the group believes we have more of a right to know the details of a religious organization’s finances than of a group aiming to influence our elections.

We called the group and sent an e-mail message to the address listed on its Web site (info@americanfuturefund.com) asking who its funders are. The message was returned as undeliverable.

Today’s complaint was the second Public Citizen has filed against independent electioneering groups in the past two week’s, following up on a complaint against Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS that was submitted on October 13.

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With record amounts of secret money being funneled through nonprofit organizations to influence the upcoming elections, Public Citizen today unveiled an Internet database to track the activity. The new Stealth PACs database is available at http://www.citizen.org/stealthpacs.

The project tracks 120 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.

All contributors giving more than $5,000 are reported, as are payments to vendors and other recipients of more than $1,000. The information on the site will be updated frequently through the Nov. 2 election. Visitors to the website can view electioneering activity sorted by (more…)

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Today’s flickr photo

 

Pollution almost looks pretty in Washington state. Flickr photo by United Nations Photo.

 

If you read one thing today . . .

Greg Sargent at The Plum Line wonders when the nation’s crack political reporters are going to start fact-checking the outrageous claims coming out of Republican kingmaker Karl Rove’s mouth. Don’t get us wrong, there’s some good political reporting going on this election season but, come on folks, giving Rove a free pass in the name of “balance” is just lazy reporting. Unfortunately, a lot of Rove’s outright lies are bouncing around the Internet’s echo chamber where they are quickly becoming conservative talking points. Sargent writes:

Karl Rove, who co-founded two big spending groups, and others behind the huge conservative ad buys, have repeatedly claimed in recent days that their spending is comparable to anonymous spending from the left. These claims are serious distortions at best and demonstrable falsehoods at worst. But no one seems to care. While it’s understandable that White House claims would draw more scrutiny, Rove is a hugely influential figure this year, helping raise and spend tens of millions to swing the elections.

Overheard:

The Shareholder Protection Act, which would give shareholders a say in how their boards spend money in political campaigns, is stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives and hasn’t gone anywhere in the U.S. Senate. Want to know why we need it? Just ask these News Corps. shareholders who aren’t happy that Rupert Murdoch’s company gave matching $1 million donations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Governors Association. According to The Caucus blog in the NYT, The Nathan Cummings Foundation wrote:

“The apparent lack of a strategic rationale for News Corp. raises very serious concerns for shareholders as to whether Mr. Murdoch and the rest of the News Corp. Board of Directors are truly taking shareholder interests into account when they approve political payments made with shareholders’ assets.”

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