Before we get into today’s independent expenditures, I thought it would be good to provide a refresher on what we do here every day.
Can’t Buy Me Gov’s purpose is to provide a clear daily snapshot of independent political expenditures reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in a way that is easy to understand. CBMG aims provide a daily digest of what happened the day before – much like a box score for a sports team or tracking stock markets. If money is speech, it should be easy to tell who is saying what.
Before the figures, what is an Independent Expenditure? The FEC offers this definition:
Independent expenditures represent spending by individual people, groups, political committees, corporations or unions expressly advocating the election or defeat of clearly identified federal candidates. These expenditures may not be made in concert or cooperation with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate, the candidate’s campaign or a political party.
Now that is out of the way, on to the post…
- The Roundup: $738K disclosed by 12 groups influencing 15 different federal elections
- Big Spender: A day after a Republican group took the top spot, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee disclosed $512K in media-related expenditures. In keeping with the parallels to the yesterday, the biggest spender dominated the disclosures - spending more cash than the other 11 groups combined.
- Cashing in: Great American Media walked away with $488K for a media buy opposing the newly minted Republican nominee for US Senate in Missouri and current US Congressman, Todd Aiken. In the past 15 months Great American has received payments totalling over $3 million for media buys from Democratic Senatorial and Congressional Campaign Committees. Primarily, the media buys were made for influencing House and Senate races in Arizona, New York and Oregon.
- House or Senate? The Senate. $680,285 spent on Senate races versus only $52,721 on the House.
- Top of the Shopping List: In terms of dollars disclosed, media-related expenditures were again top of the shopping list for IE groups. In terms of disclosure frequency, there were a significant amount of mail and e-mail contact expenditures in addition to the media-focused spending.
- The Hotspot: The race for US Senate in Missiouri between incumbent Claire McKaskill and Todd Aiken. Mr. Aiken was victorious in a hotly contested primary battle against John Brunner and Sarah Steelman - two frequent recipients of independent expenditure support over the last month.