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Americans for Tax Reform spends big on House races

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The nonprofit group Americans for Tax Reform is flooding several House races with more than $14 million in independent expenditures this month.

The 501(c)4 lobbying group run by prominent conservative Grover Norquist has spent $1 million in six Senate contests, but its primary focus has been on bolstering Republican candidates for the House. Recent activity by ATR has made it one of the top spenders in a number of tight races, and in some districts the huge purchases have dwarfed all previous outside spending, according to Sunlight's Follow the Unlimited Money tracker.

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Censored? Information goes missing from political ad files

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FCC headquartersThe Federal Communication Commission's online political ad database is supposed to make information about heavy political hitters more accessible, but a lack of clarity in the rules has resulted in some stations effectively censoring what the public is permitted to see.

An analysis using Sunlight's Political Ad Sleuth, a project to organize and expand the FCC database, shows that of the more than 220 stations that are required to post their political files online, more than half have removed documents since the process began Aug. 2. More than 2,100 of the total 35,400 records appear to ...

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Pro-gay marriage group pushes for ad removal

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A gay marriage referendum on Maryland ballots Nov. 6 has set off a behind-the-scenes fight over a television advertisement, a dispute uncovered by Sunlight's Political Ad Sleuth.

letter discovered on the database, which tracks political ad filings that local stations are required to post with the Federal Communications Commission, reveals that Marylanders for Marriage Equality has been pressing station managers to take down "Question 6 Doesn't," an ad produced by the Maryland Marriage Alliance, a group on the other side of the debate over same-sex marriage.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality raised a number of complaints about the ...

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Republican groups swamping Democrats in outside spending

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As the campaign heads into its final weeks, Republican outside interest groups are outspending their Democratic counterparts two-to-one, Federal Election Commission reports tracked this week by Sunlight's Follow the Unlimited Money show. pile of cash

As Sunlight reported last week, outside spending has accelerated since Sept. 7, when federal law requires that all outside groups making political expenditures disclose them to the FEC.  Expenditures hit $102 million between Oct. 5 and Oct 11, with House races getting the most attention from the outside spenders, and GOP candidates only having a slight advantage. 

But so far this week, Republican groups have outmatched Democratic ...

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NAM authorized $1 million in undisclosed spending

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The National Association of Manufacturers authorized close to $1 million on ads in Ohio over a two-week period, according to files uncovered with Sunlight's Political Ad Sleuth

Update 10/18/2012, 10:15 a.m.: NAM seems to have focused its firepower on the Cincinnati market. An analysis of the ad buys by Sunlight turned up 161 spots on Cincinnati stations, compared to 96 in Cleveland and 40 in Columbus. This only includes stations that are required to file their ad buys with the Federal Communications Commission's online database. Only 11 of Ohio's 40 television stations are ...

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Americans for Tax Reform drops $2 million in one day

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Dark money group Americans for Tax Reform just dropped close to $2 million to influence competitive House races. 

Victories for the 501(c)4 non-profit lobbying organization, founded by conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist in 1985, would undoubtedly complicate efforts to reach a deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" because the group "opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle." ATR's central tenet -- the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which requires lawmakers to  "solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases," enjoys the backing most Republicans in Congress and all but one of this year's GOP presidential ...

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Solid blue states attracting a lot of political green

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Republican groups are pumping millions into states usually thought of as Democratic strongholds, seeking to tip competitive House races into their favor. The result? Three big Democratic states -- California, New York and Illinois--are the top targets for outside spending in congressional races, according to the Sunlight Foundation's Follow the Unlimited Money.

The 2010 U.S. Census triggered redistricting across the country, creating once-a-decade opportunities in some districts. So while President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, are ignoring three of the nation's most populous states -- neither candidate has placed an ad there at least since Aug ...

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