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Tag Archive: 2012 elections

Who benefited most from dark money in the 2012 election?

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Eighteen incoming members of Congress each got more than $1 million in dark money donations during their recent campaigns, but many more have reason to resent the stealthiest of campaign contributions, a Sunlight Foundation analysis has found.

Dark money represents campaign contributions whose sources never have to be publicly reported. That's because the money is funneled through non-profit entities organized under a section of the tax code that protects them from having to name their donors. These kind of groups -- such as the pro-GOP Crossroads GPS and the pro-Democrat League of Conservation Voters -- have increased their electoral role in the wake of a series of court rulings that opened the door for unlimited corporate and union spending on campaigns. Nonprofit groups made more than $300 million of such donations during the course of the 2012 election cycle, the vast majority to influence the fall races.

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Another reason for a fiscal cliff standstill: too many safe seats?

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As “fiscal cliff” negotiations continue to slow to a standstill, Americans might be feeling frustrated about the inability of their representatives to reach a compromise. Wasn’t the election supposed to settle the argument? There are many reasons to explain the intransigence. Last week, we documented the ubiquitous lobbying on tax and budget issues that will almost certainly complicate any attempt to reach a deal. But there’s another factor to keep in mind: The majority of members of Congress have relatively homogenous constituencies. That means they’re probably hearing overwhelmingly from only one side of the argument back home, and facing limited pressure to find a compromise.

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Buyers remorse? Check out the return on investment webinar

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Once the votes in election 2012 were counted, the Sunlight Foundation did some figuring of our own, calculating the percentage of money spent by outside groups in elections that helped winning candidates or hurt losing ones; we called that percentage return on investment (ROI). Mark your calendars for Thursday, Nov 29, at 1 p.m. for a webinar explaining how we did it, including a close up look at the ROI data. We will also debut our Congressional ROI data set, which shows how groups fared when the massive amounts of presidential election spending are removed from the totals. In this webinar we will show you how to dive into the data on a more granular level to tell the story behind the numbers. Sign up for the webinar here.

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After election, dozens of super PACs shut down

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After an election that saw unprecedented spending from outside groups, more than a hundred super PACs have already hit the self-destruct button. Many of the now-defunct organizations spent more on themselves than they did supporting political candidates.   

Stephen Colbert announced on the Monday edition of his Comedy Central program the demise of his super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Inc., on his Comedy Central show. With Trevor ...

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Election lawyers say super PACs should shift strategy

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Given the underperformance of many outside spending groups in this year's election, some election lawyers suggested they shift strategies to focus more on mobilizing voters on the ground rather than TV ads in a panel discussion today.

The discussion took place at George Washington University Law School during a conference analyzing the 2012 campaign.

Super PACs that spent the most put their money into TV ads, noted Monica Yuan, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. In contrast, unions and union-affiliated super PACs put much of their resources into get-out-the-vote efforts. The union groups were relatively successful compared ...

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Latino vote: Still a bargain in election 2012?

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For months, pundits on both the right and left have said Latino voters would determine the presidential election. It looks like they were right. Not only did President Barack Obama manage to win 71 percent of the Latino vote (second only to former President Bill Clinton’s historic 73 percent of the Latino vote in 1994), but in key battleground states like Florida, Nevada and Colorado where Latino voters make up between 15 and 18 percent of eligible voters, Obama secured super majorities of the Latino vote. In Florida, there’s a lively debate over whether the president managed to secure a majority of the traditionally Republican Cuban vote -- a historic victory if so. Most importantly for Obama, the Latino base grew this year: All the indicators pointed to record high voter turnout from Latino voters this year. Overall, 28 Latinos won House seats this election, creating the largest class of Latino U.S. lawmakers in history. In the Senate, Latinos gained a seat with the victory Republican Ted Cruz, the first Hispanic senator to be elected from Texas. But for such an indisputably important demographic group and an election that saw more than $1 billion in outside spending, it appears that relatively little money was spent to influence the Latino vote using TV ads -- the most common way many campaigns get their message out and attempt to sway voters. In a political ad analysis of ads purchased on Spanish-language TV stations located in key swing states, Free Press found that from April to September the Obama campaign and supporting organizations had spent only $7 million — or 9 percent — of their ad dollars on Spanish language ads, while the Romney campaign and its supporters had spent a paltry $3.2 million, or 4 percent of their total ad dollars. These figures are especially disproportionate when placed into the larger context of this election cycle as media analysts project that over $300 billion was spent on political ads.

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A revealing glance at the freshmen of the 113th Congress

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Image of National Journal graphic showing newly elected members of CongressIn stark contrast to the current crop of House freshmen, which we reported on extensively earlier this year, the soon-to-be newly sworn in members of the 113th Congress is considerably more balanced politically; however, analysts warn that it will likely be the most divided class yet.

Of the 89 new House members taking their oaths of office for the first time in January, 2011, after an election marked by a Tea Party tide, just nine were Democrats. So far this year (a few races remain to be called), there are 74 first-timers slated to take office next year, 44 Democrats ...

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Big donors to Obama super PAC have lobbying priorities of their own

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Priorities logoPriorities USA Action Fund, the third biggest super PAC in the 2012 elections, had 31 donors--individuals and organizations--who contributed $1 million or more to support President Barack Obama's reelection effort. At least 15 of them have business before the federal government, either directly, or through companies they own large stakes in, either from their own efforts or through inheritance. 

A Sunlight analysis of these donors' influence profiles in Washington suggest that some of them were thanking the president for favors already accorded, while others may have been donating with the hope of receiving favors in the second term. While ...

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