Posts Tagged ‘political contributions’

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 President Robert Weissman (left) and Common Cause President Bob Edgar at a news conference at the Capitol calling for the U.S. Senate to pass a pared-down version of the DISCLOSE Act.

The amount of information available to voters about who was behind attack ads during the midterms was dramatically less than in previous years, a new Public Citizen study shows.

The study was released at a press conference held today by six good government groups who called on the U.S. Senate to pass a stripped-down version of the DISCLOSE Act focused solely on disclosure.

Of the 10 top spending groups in the 2010 cycle, accounting for 52 percent of all spending in the elections, only three provided any information about their funders, Public Citizen found. These groups disclosed the sources of only one in four dollars they spent on the 2010 elections.

Groups not disclosing any information about their funders (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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Today’s Flickr photo

Flickr photo by kevp65.

If you read one thing today . . .

There’s an election going on today, in case you haven’t heard. We hope you voted for the candidate of your choice, whether he or she be Republican, Democrat, Green or Independent. Democracy is truly a wonderful thing to see in action. Visit the HuffPo for a running blog on the election. David Corn in Mother Jones warns that the Democracy we so cherish is being threatened by the secretive nonprofit PACs that have poured money into the election:

The secret and unlimited flow of dollars into congressional campaigns this year is largely unprecedented—at least since campaign finance reform was implemented following Watergate in the 1970s. Almost half a trillion dollars have been spent so far by outside groups—with about one-quarter of that coming from dark-money groups that don’t disclose donors. And it’s not just a Republican phenomenon. Unions and Democratic-leaning advocacy outfits are playing the game. Still, the advantage goes to the GOP. Of the outside groups not connected to either political party, those supporting Republicans and opposing Democrats have so far spent $119.2 million, and those supporting Democrats and opposing Republicans have dumped $73.8 million into races. This split is dramatic, but there’s another factor to consider: Much of the pro-Democratic money comes from large membership groups (including the SEIU and the National Education Association), yet much of the pro-Republican money originates from a small number of millionaires (or billionaires). Consequently, fat cats have gained even more disproportionate influence.


With the likely GOP takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives, organized labor is bracing itself for what could be some rough waters over the next two years. Steven Greenhouse’s story in the New York Times highlights the concerns of labor leaders:

“Republicans are likely to pursue a version of what Samuel Gompers often said: ‘Reward your friends and punish your enemies,’ ” said Joseph McCartin, a labor historian at Georgetown.

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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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Of the $176.1 million spent by outside groups using large, often undisclosed contributions to influence the current elections, just 10 groups are responsible for the bulk of the spending, according to a new analysis released today by Public Citizen.

What’s more, 59.9 percent of the money comes from undisclosed sources. Of those contributions that have been disclosed, nearly two-thirds has come from just 0.12 percent of the contributors. The analysis of data from Public Citizen’s Stealth PACs database shows that: (more…)

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I wonder if AT&T spent just a little bit more money improving its cell-phone coverage and less money trying to influence politicians, if I might actually be able to use my iPhone inside my house? Since 1989, AT&T has contributed $45.6 million to candidates running for office, which puts the communications giant at the top of the 10 Biggest Corporate Campaign Contributors in U.S. Politics from 1989 to 2010. Bruce Watson at AOL’s Daily Finance put together the list of big givers, which includes a couple corporations you might expect, such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and a couple you might not, such as UPS and Microsoft. Watson also identifies some of the members of Congress who benefited most from the contributions:

It isn’t hard to see why the phone company is willing to open its wallet for Congress. After its early-1980s antitrust breakup, Ma Bell has spent the last few decades putting itself back together again. Today, it’s the largest land-based phone carrier, the largest cellular carrier and the 13th-largest company in the U.S. In 2006, as AT&T’s political giving reached its apex, the company bought Bell South, a major piece of the post-breakup puzzle. Coincidence?

See the complete list here.

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Campaign spending  by special interst groups has reached record amounts for this year’s midterm elections, yet no one knows exactly where all the dough is coming from.

Interest groups are spending five times as much ($80 million) on this year’s congressional midterm elections as they did on the last midterms in 2006 ($16 million), according to the Washington Post.

Of course, these record numbers aren’t suprising in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Comission ruling. The past months have been filled with reports of interest groups organized as nonprofits who aren’t required to disclose the identity of donors. Less than half of all interest groups have released their donors identies compared to 90 percent in 2006.

And when it comes to spending, groups backing GOP candidates are dominating the playing field. One of the biggest spenders is an Iowa group, American Future Fund, which has spent $7 million on Republican House and Senate Races. Karl Rove’s conservative group American Crossroads and the associated Crossroads GPS announced Tuesday that it will spend nearly $4.25 million on a nationwide advertising campaign for eight crucial Senate races.

Crossroads GPS is now the largest third-party player on television and watchdog groups are requesting the IRS investigate the group for potentially violating federal tax laws.

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Two interviews with Public Citizen President Robert Weissman at last month’s Netroots Nation convention on the need to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That ruling opened the door for unlimited corporate spending on elections. Up top Weissman talks to The Uptake’s Jacob Wheeler about the need to overturn Citizens United and about Public Citizen’s and People For the American Way’s Pledge for Democracy campaign in which candidates for Congress are asked to take a pledge to support a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens United. And after the jump, an interview with Sum of Change that delves a little deeper into the legal issues behind the ruling. (more…)

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Today in the U.S. Senate, partisan politics prevailed over the public interest as all Republican senators marched in lockstep to the orders of Republican party leaders and blocked a vote on the DISCLOSE Act (S. 3628). The failure of even a single Republican senator to vote for debate and consideration of the bill means there will be no disclosure of who is behind the expected onslaught of corporate spending in the 2010 elections – an onslaught created by the recent disastrous Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Voters will be left clueless as to who is funding the “independent” TV ads promoting and attacking candidates and how much these secretive funders are paying for these ads.

This lack of disclosure is exactly what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the national Republican Party want. This is partisan politics at its worst. (more…)

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