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Court rulings boost donors to Republican ads
The Financial Times ^ | 9/28/2010 | Stephanie Kirchgaessner

Posted on 09/28/2010 11:37:02 PM PDT by bruinbirdman

When Barack Obama was elected president on the back of an army of small donors in 2008, the commonly held wisdom in Washington was that a new model had emerged in how elections would be funded in the future.

Mr Obama’s supporters, giving donations of $25 each over the internet, coupled with substantial support from traditional big Democratic givers, gave him a distinct advantage over rival John McCain. Republicans, unmotivated and lacking the Obama campaign’s organisation, lost the money war.

But 34 days before the congressional elections, the table has turned on Democrats. An influx of cash from a relatively small band of companies and wealthy individuals is having a dramatic impact on races across the country, and heavily favouring Republican candidates who began the election cycle at a financial disadvantage to their Democratic rivals.

Campaign finance experts say Republican donors are not only more motivated in this election, they have also been more adept at taking advantage of changes in campaign finance rules that have eradicated restrictions on big moneyed interests – including labour unions and trade associations.

The Supreme Court’s January ruling, known as Citizens United, and lower court rulings influenced by the decision have given corporations and other outside groups new power to sponsor advertisements that directly support or attack candidates. They have eliminated rules that used to prohibit the groups from running direct ad campaigns in the last 60 days before an election.

Meanwhile, a deadlock within the Federal Election Commission, the US regulatory agency, has made it clear that certain kinds of independent organisations could spend money on elections without disclosing their donor base. The changes have given rise to what are known as “super-pacs”, largely unregulated groups that, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, are poised to raise unlimited sums in federal elections.

The most prominent to emerge so far is known as American Crossroads, a group that is being advised by the former top strategist for President George W. Bush, Karl Rove. American Crossroads and its sister organisation, Crossroads GPS, have said they will spend $52m this election cycle. The group is running ads in support of the Tea Party candidate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, who is challenging Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, and has promised to inject $1m into the California election to fight Senator Barbara Boxer.

Trevor Potter, a Republican campaign finance lawyer who worked for the McCain campaign, says Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrongly assumed in the Citizens United decision that the relaxation of election rules would not pose a problem, because groups would have to disclose their activity – and that Congress could pass legislation forcing them to do so. But Senate Democrats last week failed to pass legislation that would have forced groups to disclose their donors after Republicans blocked the move through a procedural tactic.

Evan Tracey, president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising spending, says other factors are also feeding into the money frenzy. In this election, no congressional seat is considered safe – and there are many open seats creating multiple elections in states.

Mr Tracey predicts that the impact of the spending increases will only truly be felt in coming weeks when, no longer facing timing restrictions, groups will pour money into high-impact negative ads that aim to have a “disruptive” effect. “The closer you are to the election the more disruptive you are going to be,” he says.

According to a study released by Wesleyan University, advertising spending in the election has far exceeded levels from previous polls. As of September 15, roughly $220m was spend on political ads for congressional races, compared with $135m spent on those races in 2008.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2010; americancrossroads; angle; campaignads; citizensunited; disclose; fec; fiorina; gop; harryreid; karlrove; scotus

1 posted on 09/28/2010 11:37:05 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
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To: bruinbirdman

Open money needs transparency regardless of party. All political donations need to be revealed on the internet for all to see. Not such a difficult thing and then all this fuss about money will be muted.


2 posted on 09/28/2010 11:43:42 PM PDT by Deagle
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To: Deagle

In our state if you are a PAC you only have to identify those donations in excess of $50 per person and even with that cutoff it takes a great deal of time to prepare the monthly reports we are required by law to complete. A lot of people - like me - are not wealthy and give $25.00 to several candidates. To list all of these people would be equal in time to the task we are looking at to prepare 1099’s unless the spineless ones get rid of Obamacare this fall. People who have paid positions do 1099’s. A whole lot of PAC’s are staffed by unpaid volunteers. I agree it should be traceable but there’s gotta be a better way.


3 posted on 09/28/2010 11:56:12 PM PDT by Grams A (The Sun will rise in the East in the morning and God is still on his throne.)
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To: Deagle

If we remember correctly, it was the whiney Dems who broke the public financing accord back in 08. When Obama had the advantage, the Dems bolted the public financing....hypocrites.


4 posted on 09/28/2010 11:57:30 PM PDT by rbmillerjr
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To: Grams A

Hey, if they cash a check or deposit money into a political account, there is a action that can be posted. It is already there, just needs to be directed.


5 posted on 09/28/2010 11:59:39 PM PDT by Deagle
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To: rbmillerjr

Of course, but if necessary, the Republicans will do the same. It does not have party bounds. They are all a bit crooked...or should I say elitist politicians.


6 posted on 09/29/2010 12:00:53 AM PDT by Deagle
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To: Deagle

Both parties are crooked as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care who broke it but do want it fixed - someway.


7 posted on 09/29/2010 12:03:27 AM PDT by Deagle
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To: bruinbirdman
what a bunch of crap....no one knows where bamey got his money but it wasn't from mom and pop american citizen....

he had money gift cards with fake names or no names...

it is said he had tons of foreign cash.....

has the bootlicking Hollywood crowd

and the evil ruling class wall streeters and bankers looking for further ways to steal money....

and I'd like to think that its people like freepers who are sending in little bits of money to many candidates that is making a big difference....

8 posted on 09/29/2010 12:06:33 AM PDT by cherry
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To: Deagle

I am concerned about foreign money influencing elections.

American citizens have freedom to donate as much as they want, IMO.

But I don’t think citizens from other countries do.

Perhaps forbid candidates for accepting foreign donations.

And requiring them to list candidates who donate more than $1000 or so would flush out those fronting foreign donations, maybe.


9 posted on 09/29/2010 12:07:36 AM PDT by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: bruinbirdman
Campaign finance experts say Republican donors are not only more motivated in this election, they have also been more adept at taking advantage of changes in campaign finance rules that have eradicated restrictions on big moneyed interests – including labour unions and trade associations

Yup, those labor unions are big GOP backers... lol

10 posted on 09/29/2010 12:09:52 AM PDT by GeronL (http://libertyfic.proboards.com <--- My Fiction/ Science Fiction Board)
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To: Persevero

Yes, many problems with money to politicians... Not sure we could ever even limit outside influence, we initially thought that people would be honest and honorable - look what that got us.

Actually, not sure there is any way to keep illegal money out of politics, but if the voters were smart, it would not matter. Maybe it just requires voter education.


11 posted on 09/29/2010 12:13:29 AM PDT by Deagle
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To: Persevero
That doesn't prevent any campaign to use American citizen's name to channel foreigner's money. Unless we can trace the source of every cent of campaign donation, there's always a way for foreigner's money to make into American politics.

I don't get it. Mom-and-pop store have accounting system that records the sales of every single thing (like a 50c candy). Why can't multi million enterprise like these campaigns cannot record $25 donation? The devil, of course, in proving that those names on the list are indeed real people who donate, not zombies or ghosts.

12 posted on 09/29/2010 12:20:22 AM PDT by paudio (How could you be an open-minded person if you are a liberal?)
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To: paudio
Full disclosure would put a chill, especially on small donors -- everyone would know who they'd given $20 to, and they could face reprecussions at work and vandalism or harassment at their homes.

We have a secret ballot for a reason.

People should be able to support candidates financially up to a certain level without having their name and address blasted over the internet.

The truth is crooked politicians would still be crooked if campaigns were funded by the cloud fairies.

13 posted on 09/29/2010 12:42:19 AM PDT by Crichton
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To: paudio

Soros, Hong Kong Donor Fund J Street

http://www.futureofcapitalism.com/2010/09/soros-hong-kong-donor-fund-j-street

This all raises plenty of questions, but among them are: Will President Obama, who has been attacking the Supreme Court and Republicans in Congress for supposedly allowing “foreign-controlled corporations seeking to influence our democracy” the ability to “spend freely” reconsider his close relationship with J Street now that he knows it is funded by a foreign individual?


14 posted on 09/29/2010 12:44:22 AM PDT by cognizant
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To: Deagle
Open money needs transparency regardless of party

Agree 100%!

Let's get on that on Nov. 3rd

15 posted on 09/29/2010 12:48:51 AM PDT by Michael.SF.
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To: bruinbirdman

I don’t know,maybe it’s not the money so much as it is whaqt it does. Big contributions corrupt the politicians; not only for this election, but for future ones, too.

How about we limit how much can be SPENT on any election? Start with $250k for local elections, $750k for state elections, $1M for federal elections and $5M for presidential elections.

Any money raised over the allowable amount goes to Social Security. That way, no candidate has a “war chest” for succeeding elections and wealthy candidates can’t use their own money for an advantage.


16 posted on 09/29/2010 12:56:56 AM PDT by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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To: bruinbirdman
Mr Obama’s supporters, giving donations of $25 each over the internet, coupled with substantial support from traditional big Democratic givers, gave him a distinct advantage over rival John McCain

....and millions of dollars in free advertising from a sycophant press.

17 posted on 09/29/2010 12:58:50 AM PDT by upsdriver (The revolution begins on Nov. 2 to take back our country. The American people vs the ruling elite.)
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To: paudio
"That doesn't prevent any campaign to use American citizen's name to channel foreigner's money"

Hmmm. Some day the ChiComs are going to send 1000 sequentially numbered money orders to a Buddhis temple so the nuns can sign them over to a sitting vice tpresident.

Or a ChiCom representative might just walk into a presidents judicial defence fund HQ and plop down $50K on the desk.

Or a convicted drug dealer might say "ya gotta pay to get in the door" so he can get his picture taken with the first lady.


Hillary and convicted Cuban drug dealer Jose Cabrera

yitbos

18 posted on 09/29/2010 1:00:59 AM PDT by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds.")
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To: Deagle

If they can’t check the voter rolls what good is listing donors?


19 posted on 09/29/2010 1:58:25 AM PDT by HarleyD
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To: bruinbirdman

On the backs of illegal donations from abroad and voter fraud perpetrated by ACORN........

There, I fixed it!!!


20 posted on 09/29/2010 2:53:39 AM PDT by Carley (For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.)
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To: bruinbirdman

The money is only there because of the power, and the federal government has usurped far to much of it.


21 posted on 09/29/2010 3:59:44 AM PDT by ALPAPilot
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To: ALPAPilot
EXACTLY! No power....no need to influence power.
22 posted on 09/29/2010 4:42:22 AM PDT by rightwingextremist1776
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To: bruinbirdman

Read this 400 word essay to get the whole story :
http://www.coachisright.com/%e2%80%9coutside%e2%80%9d-conservative-contributions-drowning-are-democrats-and-fueling-our-poll-surges/


23 posted on 09/29/2010 4:56:31 AM PDT by jmaroneps37 (Conservatism is truth. Liberalism is lies.)
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To: Deagle

Oh yes, the cash. Regs say you can’t accept cash for deposit to a PAC account and must give it to a charity because it can’t be identified. This issue is like so many others - those that are going to play by the rules always did and those that aren’t are going to spend all their time thinking about ways to get around all the regs.


24 posted on 09/29/2010 8:12:15 AM PDT by Grams A (The Sun will rise in the East in the morning and God is still on his throne.)
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