Mother Jones: Following the Outside Money

November 2, 2010: In elections past, a good indicator of whether a candidate would win was to look at how much money they had raised: the more money, the better their chances. In this, the first post-Citizens United election, that equation may have been pushed aside by a new math. Now, what may matter more is how much money other people are spending to elect—or defeat—a candidate. As David Corn wrote earlier today, independent advocacy groups have poured nearly half a trillion dollars into this election—much of it raised behind closed doors from undisclosed donors.

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NYT Blog: Who Got the Most Bang for Their Bucks?

By Micheal Luo AND Griff Palmer-

November 4, 2010- After all the talk about the impact of independent groups on this year’s midterm elections, the debate over at least one important question can now begin in earnest: Which groups were the most effective?

It is surely a question that donors who contributed giant sums will want to know, although an organization’s impact is not measured solely in wins and losses.

Nevertheless, a New York Times analysis of Federal Election Commission records found the American Future Fund, an Iowa-based nonprofit that reported spending just over $8 million on 25 House and Senate races, won in 76 percent of them, giving it the highest winning percentage among the biggest-spending Republican-leaning groups.

American Action Network, another nonprofit group that has been active this year, ended up with Republican victories in about 56 percent of the contests it invested in.

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Think Progress: Chamber’s Money Well Spent: 63 Percent of Races Won; 20 Incumbent Democrats Defeated

By Tony Carrk-

For months, Think Progress has been chronicling the “U.S.” Chamber of Commerce’s $75 million campaign to put its interests over working- and middle-class families. It uses its substantial war chest to protect companies that outsource, oppose health reform, oppose Wall Street reform, and oppose clean energy. The Chamber will not disclose who is financing this campaign, fearing a public backlash. But we know the results: The 112th Congress will have more members to protect its pro-outsourcing, anti-middle class agenda.

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MSN: Spending blitz by outside groups helped secure big GOP wins

Hedge fund moguls helped bankroll groups' attack ads, sources tell NBC News

November 4, 2010: A tightly coordinated effort by outside Republican groups, spearheaded by Karl Rove and fueled by tens of millions of dollars in contributions from Wall Street hedge fund moguls and other wealthy donors, helped secure big GOP midterm victories Tuesday, according to campaign spending figures and Republican fundraising insiders.

Leading the GOP spending pack was a pair of groups — American Crossroads and its affiliate, Crossroads GPS — both of which were co-founded by two former aides in the George W. Bush White House: Rove, and Ed Gillespie.

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Gawker: Democratic Congressman’s Career-Killing Outburst Was Engineered by GOP Tricksters

November 4, 2010- Remember when Democratic congressman Bob Etheridge went berserk on two kids who were harassing him on the streets of Washington, D.C.? And everyone was wondering who those kids were? And the GOP denied it? Guess what? It was the GOP.

The video, which first showed up on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website, showed two college-age kids approaching Etheridge, a North Carolina congressman, on the streets of D.C. last June. They asked him if he supported Obama's agenda, and he inexplicably went into Charles Bronson mode, grabbing one of them by the neck and pulling him into a very uncomfortable and threatening hug. The mystery of who Etheridge's antagonists were—they never identified themselves on the video, despite Etheridge's creepy incantation of "Who are you?" over and over again, and their faces were blurred out—was a brief parlor game at the beginning of the Tea Party summer.

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TruthOut: Campaign Cash: Citizens United Becomes Get Out-of-Jail-Free Card for Corporate Criminals

November 3, 2010: The votes are in, and while some close races are still being tallied, there is a clear winner from the 2010 elections: Secret corporate cash.

Such unaccounted for political donations may end up allowing those accused of wrongdoing to go free. As Joshua Holland details for AlterNet, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission may have provided a lifetime supply of get-out-of-jail-free cards to corporate criminals.

The Kentucky senate race serves as a prime example. The Democratic candidate, Jack Conway, is currently Kentucky’s attorney general. Conway is also currently prosecuting a nursing home for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of one of its residents.

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Huffington Post: Unprecedented Outside Spending Boosted Candidates To Victory

November 3, 2010: Tuesday's election will be remembered not only for the historic losses by the Democratic Party in the House, but also the unprecedented amount of outside spending that poured into races, thanks to the Supreme Court's landmark Citizen United decision. Indeed, Democratic Congressional Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen attributed the GOP wave in part to the "record amount of secret money spent by right-wing outside groups turned this political storm into a category 3 political hurricane."

A new report from watchdog group Public Citizen largely bears out this observation that powerful independent expenditures may have played a significant role. Out of 74 contests in which power changed hands on Tuesday, outside spending benefited the winner in 58 races. Just 14 of the losing candidates received more help than their opponents from these groups.

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RAW Story: Exclusive: Business groups poised to turn judges into ‘politicians in robes’

Exclusive: Business groups poised to turn judges into ‘politicians in robes’

November 2, 2010: Campaign donations to members of Congress from secret donors and foreign investors are grabbing headlines this election season.

But in a new twist in judicial elections this year, business groups are targeting judges over single-issue rulings – from overturning medical malpractice limits to upholding gay marriage – in retention races that were originally designed to limit the influence of special interest money.

If this exploitation of retention elections is successful, it could lead to a whole new tsunami of special interest spending in judicial races across the nation, according to a nonpartisan partnership that works to protect courts from special-interest influence.

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NYT: Conservative Donor Groups Lay a Base for 2012 Elections

October 31, 2010- The midterm election campaign will end Tuesday, but one of its most marked developments — the emergence of outside groups, often backed by anonymous donations, that can direct waves of advertising into political battles — is just getting started.

Buoyed by the impact their blistering, anti-Democratic campaigns have had this year, two of the largest new conservative groups helping Republicans are planning to keep pushing their agenda in the lame-duck session of Congress that will begin in two weeks and are already laying the groundwork for a more aggressive campaign in the 2012 presidential race.

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