Skip to comments.GOP 527s finished campaign strong (Dems outspent GOP 3-1)
Posted on 11/06/2004 12:49:15 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
WASHINGTON - Though unregulated money primarily fueled liberal causes during the first half of the presidential campaign, 527 groups supporting Republicans outspent those backing Democrats 3-to-1 in the final three weeks, campaign-watchdog groups said.
In the decisive weeks of a neck-and-neck race, 527 organizations funded in part by wealthy Texans unleashed a nearly $30 million television ad blitz against Sen. John Kerry while Democrat-friendly groups spent $10.3 million in attack ads on President Bush during the same period, according to the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity.
Though GOP analysts suggested the ad push in key swing states such as Ohio and Florida resonated with voters, other campaign-finance experts said the overall impact of 527s paled in comparison to the combined $900 million in regulated money spent by both parties.
As of Oct. 29, 527 groups had spent more than $486 million for the entire election cycle. Overall, Democratic-oriented 527 groups raised nearly three times as much money as similar groups backing the GOP, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
But two anti-Kerry groups made the strongest final-month push, including Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, which was co-founded by Houston lawyer John O'Neill. It spent $6.3 million in the final three weeks. Another anti-Kerry group, Progress for America Voter Fund, spent $16.8 million, more than all other Democratic groups combined.
Just as they had for much of the campaign, wealthy Texans bankrolled the late onslaught of advocacy ads by conservative groups. Donations included $50,000 from Houston home builder Bob Perry, a $500,000 in-kind contribution from Dallas oilman Boone Pickens and $140,000 from Houston developer Michael Stevens, Federal Election Commission records showed.
The late surge by GOP groups countered the Democrats' strong grip on spending of so-called "soft money." Early on, 527 groups were the domain of liberal activists seeking a fund-raising advantage over traditionally wealthier Republicans. Even before the primaries, they used money from the likes of billionaire George Soros for ads that sought to deny Bush a second term.
But according to an Election Night survey by GOP pollsters, nearly 75 percent of voters said they were familiar with a Swift Boat Veterans ad that featured Kerry's fellow Vietnam veterans questioning Kerry's military service. A somewhat smaller number could recall similar ads attacking Bush, according to the GOP polling firm Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.
But some campaign-finance experts were less convinced about the impact of 527 groups.
"They did not play as large a role in this election as many believe," said Marianne Viray, managing director of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan watchdog group. "When you look at spending as a whole, the parties spent more."
Even O'Neill was reluctant to credit his group. "The lasting effect of the ads is unrelated to the election," he said. "It is a vindication for the people who fought in Vietnam."
The role of 527 groups in future elections depends on the success of reform efforts already under way on Capitol Hill. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a campaign-finance-reform hawk and opponent of 527 groups, has urged congressional leaders to take up the fight next year.
Without reform, 527s likely will remain a powerful force in politics, said David Magleby, a political science professor at Brigham Young University.
"GOP 527s outspend Dems down the stretch"
That cannot be true. The Swift Vets spent what? $2M... Soros spent what? $100M?
Not to mention, MSM's non-stop, free Bush-bashing.
I'm glad that McCain-Feingold bill worked. Both of them should have to resign.
Hopefully, after all this Soros' nonsense we can repeal McCain-Swinegold.
Political speech ($$$$) will find a way.
That's because the anti-Bush ads were indistinguishable from MSM "coverage." Lots of people probably didn't even realize they were seeing ads.
Oh! Those were political ads? I thought I was watching CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.
Even this article displays MSM bias. "Anti-Kerry" is used to describe pro-GOP 527's, but "Pro-Democrat" is used for pro-DNC groups.
Make that "democrat-friendly", how cozy.
If they survive, and play a role in the primaries, 527's will be a powerful force for conservatism precisely BECAUSE they answer to their contributors and NOT to the "go along to get along" party Establishment
He might leave well enough alone.
McCain's scheme backfired.
Well, what this article says, basically is simple. Republicans know how to spend money better. Despite being ouspent (total, not on the last weeks of campaign) three times, the R527 gave more result than D527.
"....nearly 75 percent of voters said they were familiar with a Swift Boat Veterans ad...."
When the history of this past election is written (by historians, not journalists!) John O'Neill will emerge as a candidate for sainthood.
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