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.Continue reading
Expert: Court enforces law when Federal Election Commission can’t
Last week a federal judge stepped in to decide when a political ad is a campaign ad, meaning it has to be reported to the Federal Election Commission, as Sunlight wrote on Friday.
The case was brought by a conservative, Virginia-based nonprofit that wants to run five political ads that appear to be aimed at criticizing President Obama without disclosing them to the FEC. The group, the Hispanic Leadership Fund, sued the FEC after the commissioners, beset by partisan gridlock, could not decide whether the ads were so called electioneering communications—a term of art meaning the ads have to ...Continue reading
When is a political ad not a campaign ad? Federal judge decides for FEC
The murky rules around electioneering ads may have gotten slightly less unclear this week, but not thanks to the Federal Election Commission.
A federal judge issued an opinion Thursday that appears to give the green light to a Virginia-based conservative nonprofit based called the Hispanic Leadership Fund to run some controversial ads that seem to be aimed at criticizing President Obama without disclosing the spending (or donors) to the Federal Election Commission.
Judge T.S. Ellis III ruled that some of the five ads that stymied the FEC back in June are "electioneering" -- a term of art for ads that ...Continue reading
Federal election commissioners versus the Federal Election Commission
In an odd twist even for a federal agency known for its fecklessness and divisiveness, some commissioners are challenging their own commission. Typically they merely oppose each other--along partisan lines.
Bizarrely, a group suing the Federal Election Commission submitted a statement supporting its case in court this week by Republican commissioner Donald McGahn. Which means McGahn is backing a suit against the body on which he serves.
The rigmarole started in June but came to a head Thursday, when a complicated case involving obscure aspects of campaign finance law landed at the Eastern District Court of Virginia. Judge T.S ...Continue reading