Oct 28 2010

Big Election Spenders Violating Campaign Financing Laws

Feature Stories | Published 28 Oct 2010, 10:03 am | Comments Off on Big Election Spenders Violating Campaign Financing Laws -

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money in electionsThe record amounts of money being spent on next week’s mid-term elections was described this week by the group Public Citizen as a “prelude to something far worse in 2012”. The non-profit consumer advocacy organization yesterday released its analysis of who the big spenders are among organizations that are independent from a political party, and what motivates them. Public Citizen found that $176.1 million has been spent by outside groups to influence November elections. The majority of that money, over $114 million (or 65%), was contributed by only 10 groups, revealing that national opinion is being influenced by a small number of well-funded voices. The top 10 spenders favor Republicans, raising $79 million on behalf of the GOP versus $28.5 million for Democrats. One-hundred-and-five-million dollars (or 60%) has come from organizations that will not disclose the sources of donations because they are not legally obligated to do so. Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, said the findings show that “[O]utside group funding is shaking the foundations of our electoral democracy, but the situation is far worse than it seems at first blush. … The key to repairing our democracy is a constitutional amendment to undo the [Citizen’s United] decision.” Earlier in the year the Supreme Court ruled to allow certain non-profits and any corporation or union to spend unlimited amounts of money on electioneering communications with its landmark ruling in the Citizen’s United Vs. FEC case. Until it is voided by a constitutional amendment, the only way to slow the deluge of Citizen’s United cash is to mount legal challenges against organizations by filing complaints with the IRS and Federal Elections Commission when they break laws. Several watchdog groups have already filed complaints against Karl Rove’s multi-million dollar fundraiser Crossroads GPS. But the IRS and the FEC are slow to investigate and prosecute the cases before them, possibly allowing illegal spending to go unpunished for many election cycles.

GUEST: Amanda Terkel, Senior Politics Reporter at the Huffington Post

Read Terkel’s writing at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-terkel

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