Skip to comments.Court rulings boost donors to Republican ads
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 Obamas 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 campaigns 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 Courts 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Both parties are crooked as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care who broke it but do want it fixed - someway.
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....
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.
Yup, those labor unions are big GOP backers... lol
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.
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.
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.
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?
Let's get on that on Nov. 3rd
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.
....and millions of dollars in free advertising from a sycophant press.
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
If they can’t check the voter rolls what good is listing donors?
On the backs of illegal donations from abroad and voter fraud perpetrated by ACORN........
There, I fixed it!!!
The money is only there because of the power, and the federal government has usurped far to much of it.
Read this 400 word essay to get the whole story :
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.