News / USA

Money to Play Key Role in US Election Campaign

TEXT SIZE - +

2010 is proving to be an expensive election year in the United States. In addition to the usual spending by individual
candidates and various national party committees, outside groups are spending tens of millions of dollars trying to influence this year's congressional midterm elections.  

Election campaigns are expensive in the United States because most congressional candidates focus their spending on television advertisements.

In a close race like the one in Nevada for a U.S. Senate seat, millions of dollars are raised and spent for candidate attack ads.

In this case, the war of TV words in Nevada is being fought between veteran Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, and his Republican challenger Sharron Angle.

Spending by independent or outside groups is surging this year, already double the amount spent in the last midterm elections in 2006.

The increase in spending is largely due to a Supreme Court ruling in January that lifted restrictions on corporations and labor unions from trying to influence elections through television advertising.  Federal campaign limits on money donated directly to congressional candidates remain in effect.

Much of the money being raised by outside special interest groups is targeting Democrats this year, and Democratic candidates are trying to make an issue out of it.

President Barack Obama has seized on the issue as he campaigns for Democrats around the country, raising the possibility that foreign corporations or interests may be playing a role in fundraising. "They do not have the courage to stand up and disclose their identities.  They could be insurance companies or Wall Street banks or even foreign-owned corporations.  We will not know," he said.

Democrats tried and failed to pass a law in Congress that would require the independent fundraising groups to disclose where the campaign contributions come from.

Now, Democrats are running their own campaign ads targeting groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for raising money that is intended to help elect Republicans on November 2.

This one mentions two former political advisers to former President George W. Bush. "Karl Rove.  Ed Gillespie.  They are Bush cronies.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  They are shills for big business.  Republicans benefiting from secret foreign money," the ad said.

The Chamber of Commerce denies it is using any foreign contributions to help Republican candidates.  And former Bush adviser Karl Rove had an angry reaction to the claim on Fox News Sunday. "And they have not one shred of evidence to back up that baseless lie.  This is a desperate and I think disturbing trend by the president of the United States to tar his political adversaries with some kind of enemies list, unrestrained by any facts or evidence whatsoever," Rove said.

In the final weeks of the election campaign, Democrats are finding it difficult to keep pace with Republican fundraising, especially the millions of dollars raised by independent or outside groups.

"Wealthy donors can pour huge amounts of money into the campaigns without disclosing who they are.  So the Republicans are getting the best of both words.  They have the grassroots energy, which the Democrats lack, from the Tea Party.  And they have the big money," said Allan Lichtman, an expert on politics at American University in Washington.

But other experts argue that the Democrats main worry at the moment is not money but public opinion polls, which show Republicans on track to make major gains in both chambers of Congress on November 2.

"In the last couple of weeks we have seen about a seven to one Republican advantage in advertising.  At the margin that could make a difference, but Democrats have enough money budgeted to be on TV and make their case," said Thomas Mann, who is with the Brookings Institution.

The Wall Street Journal reports that various independent groups supporting one party or the other are likely to spend a total of about $600 million in the final two weeks of the election. Much of the money aimed at helping Republicans will come from conservative and business groups, while Democrats will largely rely on help from labor unions.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid