Outside groups dominate 2010 campaign spending
Colorado’s Seventh Congressional District – a bellwether district in a swing state – leads the nation in spending on political ads by outside groups not required to disclose their donors.
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Frazier, campaigning in slightly frayed jeans and a well-cut jacket, is a “young gun” of the National Republican Congressional Committee – that is, a new face whom GOP House leaders have designated as someone with a good shot of winning, which could help Republicans take back the majority.Skip to next paragraph
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If elected, Frazier – and up to 13 other black Republicans in 2010 House races – would join a House Republican caucus that last had a black member in 2002.
Frazier has raised $1.5 million for his own race, but is scrambling to raise more to refute a $465,176 ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee charging that he favors outsourcing jobs.
It’s one of the most effective DCCC ads this cycle, premised on the view that any Republican who signed a pledge to not increase taxes must therefore oppose repealing a tax break for companies profiting from business overseas. Factcheck.org has dubbed these ads misleading and false.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which has spent $10.6 million on political ads this cycle, poured $109,000 into radio ads attacking Frazier, who is committed to cutting government spending. It’s the group’s No. 2 top-funded House race.
A recent outside attack ad by the American Action Network, a conservative group that does not disclose donors, charges that Perlmutter’s vote for the health care reform bill means that he endorses Viagra for rapists.
Viagra for sex offenders??
In a bid to defeat the health care bill, Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma proposed an amendment to ban coverage of erectile dysfunction drugs for sex offenders. The amendment failed in the Senate, and was never voted in the House.
The ad is clearly false and it was subsequently withdrawn. But Perlmutter says he’s had to spend more time on the phone raising money to counter it instead of spending time with voters.
Unlike candidates or party organizations, outside groups organized as 527 or 501 (c) (4) groups under the US tax code, can solicit funds in unlimited amounts. The 2010 US Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, struck down a ban on political advocacy ads by corporations and unions.
But much of the outside spending in the 2010 campaign could have taken place even without that decision, using existing provisions in the tax code, says Rob Witwer, coauthor with Adam Schrager of “The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado.”
It’s a model that left-leaning groups prospected in the 2004 campaign cycle and later expanded nationwide.
“Republican organizations have internalized the lessons of Colorado,” says Witwer. “Instead of funding campaigns, they’re using a network of outside groups.”