Liberal Outside Spending Picks Up Down the Stretch
Conservative groups may still be dominating the outside spending game overall, but it turns out that in the last couple weeks, liberal ones have been competing nearly toe to toe:
But now independent groups that support Democrats – including unions, environmental organizations and new players – are fast gaining ground, often with some of the same techniques condemned by Democrats. The strategies include using money from nonprofits that can keep their donors secret and tapping into union dues to pay for unlimited attack ads.
Nearly $4 of every $10 spent by independent groups last week was aimed at helping Democratic candidates, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance disclosure filings. The number is a dramatic increase from a few weeks earlier, when Democratic allies were being outspent seven to one, the data show.
It seems inevitable, too, that Democrats will take heat for engaging in some of the same tactics. One of the biggest new groups singled out by The Washington Post, the America’s Families First Action Fund, reports its donors to the Federal Election Commission but accepted a $1 million contribution from its nonprofit affiliate, America’s Families First, which doesn’t have to report its donors publicly.
It’s not quite as blatant as setting up a social welfare 501(c)(4) nonprofit like Crossroads GPS and using it in large part to sway an election, but it’s still an example of engaging in the shell game intended to shield donors that Democrats have been so vociferously condemning on the campaign trail.