The congressional campaigns of 2010 are the first in modern American history in which political corporations have gained the power to make unlimited independent expenditures in favor or against candidates, with absolutely no requirement that they disclose their donors. The only activity of these groups still publicly documented by the Federal Election Commission is the pattern of their spending. The following is a summary of all independent expenditures made in congressional campaigns last week, the week of Sunday October 17 to Saturday October 23, 2010.
During the week of October 17-23, FEC records show that 136 political corporations spent $79.6 million to engage in various campaign activities in support of and in opposition to candidates for the U.S. Congress. This is an increase over the week before, when 102 political corporations spent $64.9 million to influence congressional campaigns. A breakdown by party shows that:
=> $29.6 million was spent to oppose Democratic congressional candidates;
=> $5.0 million was spent to support Democratic congressional candidates;
=> $36.4 million was spent to oppose Republican congressional candidates;
=> $7.8 million was spent to support Republican congressional candidates;
=> $570,872 was spent by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Fred Eshelman’s pharmaceutical front RightChange to oppose the Florida senatorial run of former Republican and current independent Charlie Crist;
=> $61,538 was spent by the mysterious â€œMajority Actionâ€ group, solely funded by Nijad Fares, a major contributor to George W. Bushâ€™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 Coloradoâ€™s 4th district.
With $41.4 million being spent to aid the Democratic electoral cause and $37.4 million being spent to aid the Republican electoral cause, this marks the first week in the 2010 election season in which pro-Democratic spending has been greater than pro-Republican spending.
The Five Biggest Independent Expenditures in Congressional Races, Week of October 17-23 2010
1. $1,189,353 spent by Karl Rove’s corporation Crossroads Grassroots on October 19 for a TV spot attacking Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias of Illinois.
2. $1,160,000 spent by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on October 19 for a TV advertisement attacking the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey.
3. $955,100 spent by the Club for Growth on October 21 for a TV advertisement attacking Democratic Pennsylvania Senate candidate Joe Sestak.
4. $940,230 spent by the National Republican Senatorial Committee on October 19 to purchase a TV advertisement attacking Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington State.
5. $900,000 spent by the National Republican Senatorial Committee on October 21 for a television advertisement supporting Republican candidate Kenneth Buck, running for the Senate in Colorado.
The Five Biggest Spenders in Independent Expenditures, Week of October 17-23 2010
1. Democratic Congressional campaign Committee $15.5 million (D)
2. National Republican Congressional Committee: $10.2 million (R)
3. Karl Roveâ€™s American Crossroads/Crossroads Grassroots: $8.7 million (R)
4. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee $7.6 million (D)
5. National Republican Senatorial Committee: $6.4 million (R)