After the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case this spring, limits on how much corporations can spend on independent expenditures in congressional campaigns have been wholly erased. The same corporations that can spend as much as they want on congressional campaigns are also allowed to keep their contributor lists secret. All that the American people are allowed to find out are the names of these corporations and the dollar amount that they’re spending. Let’s look at the trends in these figures for the latest completed week — October 10 to 16, 2010 — to find out as much as we can about the roughest figures in this new area of campaign spending.
According to Federal Election Commission data, from Sunday October 10 to Saturday October 16, a total of $64.9 million was spent by 102 political corporations to engage in various electioneering expenditures for congressional campaigns. Breaking down this total by party, we find that:
- $29.2 million was spent to oppose Democratic congressional candidates;
- $5.1 million was spent to support Democratic congressional candidates;
- $23.8 million was spent to oppose Republican congressional candidates;
- $6.0 million was spent to support Republican congressional candidates;
- $535,364 was spent by two Republican-associated political corporations to oppose the Florida senatorial run of former Republican and current independent Charlie Crist;
- $170,660 was spent by the mysterious “Majority Action” group, solely funded by Nijad Fares, a major contributor to George W. Bush’s inaugural committee but also a contributor to Fred Thompson, John Sununu, Hillary Clinton and Keith Ellison. Majority Action spent its money to oppose the campaign of independent Doug Aden, running for Congress in Colorado’s 4th district.
In all, $35.2 million was spent to aid the Republican electoral cause, an increase of $13.6 million over the previous week. And in all, $28.9 million was spent to aid the Democratic electoral cause, an increase of $8.9 million over the previous week. The Republican-Democratic spending gap in independent expenditures increased from $1.6 million the previous week to $6.3 million the week of October 10-16.
The Five Biggest Independent Expenditures in Congressional Races, Week of October 10-16 2010
1. $1,350,000 The National Education Association (NEA) Advocacy Fund on October 13 for a TV advertisement attacking the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Colorado, Kenneth Buck.
2. $1,157,210 spent by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads on October 12 for a TV spot attacking Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias of Illinois.
3. $1,031,095.00 spent by the National Republican Senatorial Committee on October 12 for a TV advertisement attacking Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington State.
4. $871,035 spent by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on October 12 to purchase a TV advertisement attacking Mark Kirk, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois.
5. $808,869 spent by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads on October 16 for a television advertisement supporting Marco Rubio, the Republican candidate for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat.
The Five Biggest Spenders in Independent Expenditures, Week of October 10-16 2010
1. National Republican Congressional Committee $11,945,387 (R)
2. Democratic Congressional campaign Committee $9,726,960 (D)
3. Karl Rove’s American Crossroads/Crossroads Grassroots $7,278,518 (R)
4. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee $5,191,754 (D)
5. National Republican Senatorial committee $3,599,719 (R)