Outside groups help to sway races
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