Since January 2010, spending by outside organizations to influence congressional elections totals some $57 million--up more than $20 million from a comparable time period in 2006, the most recent non-presidential election cycle--according to reports collected by the Federal Election Commission.
Though the rising independent expenditures--money spent by outside groups on anything from phone banks and mailing lists to negative political ads to influence a federal election--come after the Supreme Court decisions that weakened campaign finance laws, it's unclear whether those rulings are fueling the boom.
While some labor unions have taken advantage of the rulings to directly make independent ...Continue reading
The Hill newspaper reports that 20 corporations have combined to spend $3 million to defeat the creation of an asbestos trust fund currently being debated in the Senate. The money is to be used for lobbying and advertising in an effort to convince moderate and conservative Democrats and conservative Republicans to vote “No” on the trust fund. The trust fund, opposed by the corporations, would stop asbestos-related litigation by creating a $140 billion trust fund to be paid out to victims of asbestos illnesses. The trust fund is also opposed by trial lawyers and labor unions who are concerned that the fund would stop litigation and would not be able to pay settlements to all victims. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) attacked the fund as corrupt, stating that corporations would be “jumping for joy” because “[t]hey were able to buy their way into the Senate paying for a bunch of lobbyists.” Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA), the bills sponsor, responded angrily, “Slander!”Continue reading