Out­side groups help to sway races

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

aid Demo­cratic cam­paigns.

The find­ings were based on an anal­y­sis of data com­piled by the Na­tional In­sti­tute on Money in State Pol­i­tics and state elec­tions of­fices. It fo­cused on the states that had sig­nif­i­cant gu­ber­na­to­rial and state leg­isla­tive races last year and had data on cam­paign giv­ing.

The find­ings chal­lenge the pop­u­lar nar­ra­tive that busi­ness groups and big donors like the in­dus­tri­al­ist brothers David and Charles Koch would give con­ser­va­tive can­di­dates a ma­jor fi­nan­cial leg up in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Cit­i­zens United rul­ing in 2010 that lifted many of the long-stand­ing lim­its on cor­po­rate and union cam­paign spend­ing, while ef­fec­tively in­val­i­dat­ing some two dozen state laws on in­de­pen­dent spend­ing by out­side groups.

“The nar­ra­tive has been that Cit­i­zens United is just go­ing to help cor­po­ra­tions, and peo­ple have for­got­ten that you can take un­lim­ited union money too,” said John Dun­bar, man­ag­ing ed­i­tor for pol­i­tics at the Center for Pub­lic In­tegrity.

Po­lit­i­cal ads in states of­ten are pur­chased by the Repub­li­can Gover­nors As­so­ci­a­tion or the Demo­cratic Gover­nors As­so­ci­a­tion with undis­closed con­tri­bu­tions. The CPI sur­vey said heavy out­side money ap­peared to have clear ef­fects on races in New Hamp­shire, Maine, Colorado and other states.

“It’s dis­turb­ing that some­body out of state is get­ting in­volved in your state elec­tion pour­ing mil­lions of dol­lars into the state elec­tion and you have no idea where that money is com­ing from,” Mr. Dun­bar said. “As a voter, that’s not ex­actly an in­formed de­ci­sion.”

The Repub­li­can Gover­nors As­so­ci­a­tion, with at least $34 mil­lion, was the largest sin­gle out­side spender in the states sur­veyed in the re­port.

Con­ser­va­tive in­di­vid­ual donors were also ac­tive: Hedge fund bil­lion­aire Paul Singer gave the Repub­li­can Gover­nors

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