Democrats plot coordinated outside spending in 2012

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Major Democratic donors and activists are coming together to plot an outside spending strategy for the 2012 campaign after failing to fully take advantage of new rules around campaign spending.

According to the New York Times, donors to the Democracy Alliance, a network of major Democratic and liberal donors, gathered to plot how to maximize the new possibilities for pumping money into non-party aligned campaign groups in the mold of the conservative American Crossroads group.

There was little spending on the Democratic side taking advantage of new rules crafted in the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling and the SpeechNow.org appeals court ruling in the 2010 election. America’s Families First, Commonsense Ten and Women Vote! are the three biggest spenders of these groups. The amount these three spent barely exceeds half of the amount spent by American Crossroads.

A new group would likely try to harness Democratic donors who were dissuaded by the Obama campaign in 2008 from donating to outside groups. David Brock, the head of MediaMatters.org, is cited as the leader of the effort to create a new Super PAC. The Times notes Brock’s previous attempt to start an outside group prior to the new, post-Citizens United rules, “Mr. Brock led a much-heralded independent media effort in the 2008 presidential election that failed to gain much traction after the Obama campaign indicated it preferred that donors did not give to such groups.”

The group would, like American Crossroads and unlike Crossroads GPS, be formed as an independent expenditure-only committee, which can raise unlimited money with no contribution limit, but would still disclose its donors to the Federal Election Commission.

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