Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • Corporate donors fund chamber’s 2010 political push

    moneyThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce won't bow to Democrats' requests to reveal donors behind its $75 million midterm-election push. But based on information gleaned from corporate filings and "obscure places," the New York Times offers what it calls a "glimpse" into the money that funds some of the chamber's enormous lobbying and political advocacy efforts.

    While the chamber has billed its membership as a mix of major corporations and tens of thousands of small businesses around the country, the Times finds nearly half of the $140 million the group has raised in 2008 came from just 45 companies. That includes one still-unknown entity that contributed $15 million, according to the chamber's tax returns, and 21 unidentified companies that contributed $1 million apiece.

    Among the donors the Times could identify: Dow Chemical, which contributed $1.7 million to the chamber, and Prudential Financial, which kicked in $2 million in 2009 to support the chamber's lobbying efforts against Wall Street reform. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs, Chevron Texaco and the insurance giant Aegon collectively contributed $8 million to a chamber-related foundation that has been critical of financial regulation. More recently, News Corp., parent company of Fox News, contributed $1 million to the chamber's efforts.

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  • DCCC files FEC complaint against McCain

    mccainDid John McCain violate the campaign finance law that bears his name?

    That's what the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is alleging. In a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission, House Democrats accuse McCain of violating campaign finance laws that limit contributions and restrict coordination between campaigns.

    Earlier this week, McCain's campaign began airing ads in Arizona featuring McCain and fellow Sen. Jon Kyl urging voters to support GOP candidates in the state. One spot endorses Ruth McClung, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva in Arizona's 7th District. The other promotes Jesse Kelly, who is running against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

    The DCCC says the McCain ads amount to an "in-kind contribution" to the two GOP campaigns -- and as such, they exceed limits set by the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. But the McCain campaign says the ads qualify as "independent expenditures," which are unlimited so long as McCain did not coordinate his actions with either the Kelly or McClung campaign.

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  • Crist is running low on cash in Florida’s Senate race

    crist ball

    Charlie Crist is going to need more than a Hail Mary pass to catch up to Marco Rubio in Florida's Senate race.

    As reported by the St. Petersburg Times' Adam Smith, the Florida governor has blown his once-sizable financial advantage in the race, spending $7.4 million in the last two months. He entered October with just $1.4 million in the bank, according to a newly filed campaign finance report. By comparison, Rubio reported $5.5 million cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Democrat Kendrick Meek, who runs a distant third in the race, began October with $415,000.

    This is beyond bad news for Crist, who led the race most of the summer but has seen his lead evaporate big time in the last six weeks. A CNN/Time Magazine poll out Wednesday found Rubio with a 14-point lead in the race, 46 percent to Crist's 32 percent (and Meek's 20 percent).

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  • More drama over cash flow for Steele and the RNC

    steeleThe Republican National Committee entered October with just $3.4 million cash in the bank, nearly $10 million less than the Democratic National Committee.

    According to a newly filed Federal Election Commission report, the RNC raised just $9.8 million in September, another disappointing month for the committee, which has struggled for months to raise funds under embattled Chairman Michael Steele. By comparison, the DNC raised nearly $17 million last month, a new party record, and ended September with just over $13 million in the bank.

    To make up the gap, the RNC took out a $2.5 million loan last month—part of a larger $15 million credit line that GOP officials approved in August. All told, the RNC ended the month with nearly $4.6 million in debts.

    In a statement Thursday, RNC spokesman Doug Heye defended the fundraising take, saying it was a decent total for a party that does not have control of either the White House or Congress. He also added that the RNC has raised $4.3 million since Oct. 1. By comparison, the DNC says it has raised $11 million.

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  • Swift Boat donor gives $7 million to American Crossroads

    bob perryAmerican Crossroads, a conservative group that has spent millions to boost GOP candidates in the 2010 midterms, raised $15 million in the last six weeks, nearly half of that from a single Republican donor.

    According to reports filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission, the group raised $7 million alone from Bob Perry, a press-shy Texas home builder perhaps best known as the donor who provided the seed money for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The Swift Boat group, one of the first and best-known so-called 527 political committees, spent nearly $20 million on ads attacking John Kerry in the '04 presidential campaign.

    Perry, who was a top contributor to George W. Bush's presidential campaigns, has been a go-to donor for Republicans over the years. All told, he and his company, Perry Homes, have contributed more than $20 million to GOP candidates, parties and outside conservative groups since 2002, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That doesn't include the $7 million to American Crossroads or a recent $3.5 million check to the Republican Governors Association—or political donations that aren't subject to public disclosure.

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  • McMahon spends $41.5 million on her CT Senate bid

    mcmahonIs Linda McMahon going to break her personal spending limit in Connecticut's Senate race?

    According to a finance report filed today, the Senate GOP hopeful loaned her campaign another $20 million between July and September, bringing her ultimate investment in the race to $41.5 million so far. That makes her not only the top self-contributor in a 2010 congressional race but also the biggest spending House or Senate candidate in the country. (Meg Whitman, who is running for governor in California, doesn't count.)

    As of Sept. 30, McMahon had just $2.6 million cash in the bank -- that's just over double the $1.2 million cash on hand her Democratic opponent, Richard Blumenthal, reported. But Blumenthal has gotten help from Senate Democrats in recent weeks, as the party has spent at least $2 million in ads attacking McMahon. The GOP, on the other hand, is leaving all the money-related heavy lifting to McMahon.

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  • GOP ad slams Reid for living at the Ritz-Carlton

    nrsc redIt was a political ad waiting to happen. Just a few days after Sharron Angle questioned Harry Reid's wealth during last week's Nevada Senate debate, Republicans are out with a new ad attacking the Senate majority leader for living at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington.

    The ad, paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, hits Reid where he is truly vulnerable: the idea that he's out of touch with the struggles of ordinary Nevadans. Nevada now has the highest unemployment rate in the country, 14.4 percent, and the state leads the nation in the number of home foreclosures.

    Those stats get prominent play in the ad, which includes footage of Reid saying he has nothing to do with the "unemployment figures." "To him it's a figure," a narrator says. "Maybe it's because Harry lives at the Ritz-Carlton while thousands are losing their homes."

    You can watch the ad after the jump:

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  • McCain likens Palin to Reagan, calls her a part of his legacy

    palin mccainJohn McCain still has no regrets about picking Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate in 2008, telling ABC's "Nightline" that he's "proud" of Palin and views her as part of his political legacy.

    "I haven't seen anyone since Ronald Reagan that with certain individuals and large groups of individuals who really have this passionate belief and support for her," McCain told ABC's Terry Moran. "It's really a remarkable thing to observe."

    McCain shrugged off poll numbers that show a majority of voters view Palin as polarizing and said he had no regrets about introducing her to the national political scene. "I couldn't be more proud of the campaign she waged. I couldn't be more proud of her or her performance," McCain said. "So, I think, you begin to think about legacy, and I think Sarah Palin will play a very big role in the American political scene for a very long time."

    Asked specifically if he views her as part of "his legacy," McCain nodded yes. "Sure," he replied. "I'm proud of her."

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  • Union-backed group aims to protect vulnerable Democrats

    rossiAmid an onslaught of outside GOP money, a new group funded by Democratic allies is launching ads to protect vulnerable Democrats in hotly contested Senate races across the country.

    Commonsense Ten, co-founded by longtime Democratic strategist and former John Kerry aide Jim Jordan, has spent nearly $2.5 million on ads in the last week attacking GOP Senate candidates in Washington, West Virginia, Colorado and Kentucky.

    The group, which was founded in June but only recently became active, is filed as a so-called 527 political committee, which means it can raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash to influence the 2010 campaign. In a report filed Monday, the group disclosed that it had raised nearly $1 million through Sept. 30—mostly from labor unions.

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  • Tarkanian behind GOP group working to defeat Reid

    tarkanianRepublican Danny Tarkanian lost his bid for the GOP Senate nomination in Nevada, but that hasn't stopped him from continuing his efforts to unseat Harry Reid. Tarkanian, who has endorsed onetime GOP rival Sharron Angle in the race, is behind Harry Reid Votes, a so-called 527 political action committee working to unseat the Senate majority leader.

    According to records filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday, the group has spent nearly $25,000 since August—most of that money in the last two weeks—to oppose Reid's re-election. Last month, the group spent nearly $4,000 on radio spots and robocalls to Nevada voters. A report filed Wednesday disclosed that the group had spent nearly $13,000 on signs and "door-to-door canvassing." In a filing Saturday, the group reported it had spent just over $5,000 on canvassing, "scratch cards" and a "costume rental."

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