Never mind the Super PACs: A new must-read investigative report in The Nation reveals how Big Business is buying the election with secret money.
Closing in on the upcoming party conventions, super PACs appear to have lost some of their steam in attracting the big bucks. The big guns of political ad spending took in $30 million during July, reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission show. That’s $25 million less than the previous month. In all, super PACs have raised $343 million since Jan.1, 2011, the beginning of this campaign cycle.
The top donors include names now familiar as repeat super PAC underwriters, along with a few newbies. Among the eight donors who write seven-figure checks last month are three corporate donors and one left leaning nonprofit.
Top Funded Super PACs
In 2010, voters were so determined to upset the Washington establishment that they elected a House of Representatives in which 20 percent of the faces were new. It was a political revolution. But nearly two years later, the 89 rookies elected in November, 2010—80 Republicans and nine Democrats—don’t look all that different from their more veteran colleagues.
It wasn’t long after they arrived in Washington in January 2011 before some of the newbies began mimicking their seniors in hitting the party trail, holding fundraisers to cover their 2010 campaign debts. Since then these corporate special interests and businesses registered to lobby have doubled down on their campaign donation to the first-year House members.
Two conservative nonprofits, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, have poured almost $60 million into TV ads to influence the presidential race so far, outgunning all super PACs put together, new spending estimates show.
Our second infographic in the Capital in the Capitol series explains why Super PACs are super powerful this presidential election, and tells you who really holds that power—26 individuals.
Some of their names have appeared here and there in the news, but their collective identities tell a more impressive tale. What do all of these people have in common? While a large pocket of Romney supporters seem to be financial tycoons, and another subset of Obama supporters are Hollywood elite, altogether what unites these folks is their wealth—and the shared belief that it can win an election.
Giving you a glimpse of the news in a world without public access to government information.
Head-to-head voting comparison between representatives in Congress.
Companies, associations and the lobbyists employed by them contributed almost $19 million to charities in honor of federal officials last year, the vast majority of it for members of Congress, according to a new report I wrote over on the Reporting Group blog. The report parsed messy disclosures that all lobbying entities have to file every six months ever since 2008, when a law aimed at shining a light on lobbyist influence in Washington came into effect.
To find out which lawmakers and cabinet members were honored most, or to see which interests paid the most in honorary expenses last year, search the interactive graphic below. You can even filter the graphic for lawmakers from your home state.
Super PACs had their biggest month ever, raising over $55 million in June.
That impressive haul brought Super PACs’ total fundraising since Jan 1. 2011 to more than $313 million. As of around June 30, Super PACs had about $110 million in the bank (that total includes groups filing reports due between June 27 and July 13).
For Mitt Romney, the magic number is $158 million. That’s how much he’ll have to outraise President Barack Obama over the last four months of the campaign to surpass the president, the record holder for campaign fundraising.
Obama’s advantage has been lost in media reports highighting the Republican nominee’s $106 million June haul. Even Obama’s campaign, including the president himself, has downplayed its financial advantage when it warns of being outspent by Romney and the Republican National Committee. For that to happen, Romney would have to best Obama by $39.5 million a month for each of the last four months of the campaign, which is $5 million more than the advantage Romney had in June.
An analysis of Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure reports starting when Obama and Romney formally disclosed their candidacies running through the end of May 2012, and adding in totals the campaigns have announced for June, shows that Obama and his affiliated groups have raised $552.5 million, compared to Romney’s $394.9 million.