Money gushing

May 31, 2012 | By | 14 Replies More

How much money will be opposing Barack Obama? Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone puts it into perspective:

“Koch brothers alone are planning to spend more $$ than McCain’s entire 2008 presidential budget.”

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Category: Campaign Finance Reform

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Adam Herman says:

    I wouldn’t worry. very unlikely that Obama and allied groups get outspent. As of right now, combining what Romney has raised with what Super PACs have spent supporting him or opposing Obama, they aren’t even keeping up yet. With Obama alone, much less the Super PACs supporting him.

    If Republicans are lucky, they’ll break even with the Democrats in the money race.

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Adam, sometimes your innumeracy is astounding, but it pales in comparison to you penchant for expounding prejudiced opinion with a proud proclamation of a total ignorances of facts laid before you.

  3. Adam Herman says:

    None of this stuff matters. the President can set aside time on TV to sell himself to the public while calling it a policy speech and it doesn’t count as a “contribution”. Here’s a fact for you: Rachel Maddow and Bill O’Reilly get an hour every night to advocate for or against candidates. But if the Kochs buy a 30-second ad, that’s a threat to democracy. It’s absurd.

  4. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Adam,
    1) 30 seconds is actually a lot of ad time.
    2) Most people who watch Maddow or O’Reilly are the choir, paid ads reach a broader demographic. The ads are targeting the undecided voters who prefer “Idol”, ET, and game shows to the political punditry engaged in flame warz.
    3) Policy speeches are worse than useless as a campaign tactic. The interested voters will already be decided, and the undecided voters are more likely voye against an incumbent who preempts their favorite programming.

    Television ads are a small part of where political spending goes. political publicity stunts, such as those engineered by James O’Keefe, and Citizens United are effective ways leveraging the News media against a political opponent, and astroturfing campaigns, ALEC memberships amd payola are expensive.

  5. Adam Herman says:

    And much of what you mention is also not covered by campaign finance law, which is mainly directed at ads when it attempts to regulate expenditures. That’s why the courts say it’s okay to regulate donations, since not all donations are used for speech. But expenditures which are used for speech cannot be regulated, and that’s not a Citizens United decision, that precedent was set with Buckley in 1976.

    BTW, if you get a refund check from your insurance company in the next month or two, they are required to say that the ACA made it possible. Why would that not be regarded as a campaign contribution? And that’s an extremely powerful propaganda tool only available to an incumbent.

  6. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Adam,
    That a very liberal interpretation of the Buckley vs Valeo decision, which applied primarily to “soft money”. The most important restrictions on soft money in campaigns remains in place, but both parties work around the restrictions by laundering the soft money through 527 non-profits. Kudos for the attempt to bolster your argument with some very weak research, but, alas, no banana this time.

    What all Americans should be worried about is that many of the big campaign spenders are foreign corporations and even foreign governments. They throw their support behind the politicians with the ideology that weakens our government and our nation. Most often these are the true believers, the one claiming they will run government like a business, then in office, voluntarily reduce revenues and attempt to compensate by reducing services. I’m no MBA, but the economics and business management courses I took in late 70s advised us to increase revenues and services for a more successful business.

    No doubt, some of the money is used to buy deceptive mass mailings intended to mislead voters in ways that prevent their votes from being cast or counted, a lot is spent on funding Astroturf groups like the TEA Party Patriots, and for all I know they may even have computer viruses embedding subliminal messages in blog posts.

  7. Adam Herman says:

    Buckley actually upheld most campaign finance law. The big effect it had was to allow millionaires to spend unlimited amounts on their own candidacies.

  8. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Adam– BZZT!!! Wrong … guess again.

    The decisions upheld the limits on individual contributions. Since then, the corporations and millionaires simply resort to campaign fraud by donating the maximum ($2,000 to $5,000 depending on the election )in the name of various employees.
    Typically, the donation is reimbursed ( and the employee rewarded for this action) through bonuses to the involved employees, as in this recent case from Arizona.
    The practice is apparently widespread and carries with it some plausible dependability.

  9. Adam Herman says:

    Contributions are defined as donations to a candidate’s campaign. Millionaires are free to spend on their own candidacies, and have been allowed to ever since that decision.

  10. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Adam,
    Obstinately repeating something does not make it true any more than shouting louder than your opponent makes an opinion true.
    Read here for a quick reference to the legal limits for campaigns.

    Millionaires are free to spend up to the same limit as any other individual, not more. They can spend less if they so desire.

  11. Adam Herman says:

    I was referring to rich politicians spending on their own campaign.

  12. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Yes candidates can spend as much of their own money as they wish to campaign for office, but when (for example) a billionaire businessman commits $73,000,000 of his own money to get into a political office that pays $225,000 in salary, it makes me question the politician’s motives.

    As for the original topic, It appears, from recent numbers, that Romney’s fund raising is ahead of Obama’s by a ration of 5 to 4.

  13. Adam Herman says:

    In one month. Romney currently has 1/10th of Obama’s cash on hand. Obama can obliterate him, at least if you believe money is that powerful.

  14. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Your numbers are a little out of date. The figures you refer to are for march, after considerable campaign spending by Romney in the primaries.
    Funds raised in April were similar between the two and in May Romney campaign garnered more money than Obama.( the 5 to 4 ration I mentioned.)

    Also, as of March, over half of Romney’s fund came from supporters giving the maximum of $2500, while large donations accounted for about 16 percent of Obama’s funding.

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