Midterms Big Money

Democrats this election have done a good job attracting a lot of big on the record public donors, but Republicans appear to have the big advantage when it comes to big secret donors.

The 15 top Democrat-aligned committees that disclose their donors have outraised the 15 top Republican ones $453 million to $289 million in the 2014 cycle, according to a POLITICO analysis of the most recent FEC reports, including those filed this month.

Democrats and liberals have focused on SuperPACs that disclose the name of every donor who gives more than $200. Why? In large part this is because that is the way the donors want it. The biggest donors are crusaders like Tom Steyer, the San Francisco investor and climate change activist, has given $40.9 million to his Next Gen Climate Action Committee and $5 million to Senate Majority according to an NPR review of Federal Election Commission records. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has donated $6.9 million to his pro-gun control Independence USA PAC and $2 million to Emily’s List’s Women Vote SuperPAC.

Grassroots fundraising for the Dems remains strong. They have thousands of more individual donors than does the GOP. Now Dems do have Non-Profit organizations associated to them take Dark Money, i.e. donations they do not have to disclose. No info regarding who gave how much, just totals for the IRS.

The two largest of these is Patriot Majority USA and the League of Conservation Voters are the only Democratic-leaning nonprofits that have spent more than $1 million on election-related activity so far, with each reporting about $7 million in spending to the FEC. How much groups like these spend is the only way to estimate how much they have raised. We do not know how much additional money they have on hand. Let’s assume it is another two million for a total of $10 million.

$10 Million plus $453 Million is $463 Million for the Dems.

The GOP has raised $289 Million through its own SuperPacs.

How is the Dark Money? Americans for Prosperity, founded by the industrialist billionaire Koch brothers, has already been running tens of millions worth of ads attacking Democratic senators in key states. Now it says it will also run ads specifically telling voters to defeat those Democrats on Nov. 4. It will not reveal how much it intends to spend, but earlier media reports suggest the group’s total outlays this election total outlays will likely approach $350.

Crossroads GPS, co-founded by GOP operative Karl Rove, is on track to raise some $125 million this election, according to spokesman Paul Lindsay, and will spend at least $33 million of that in the final two months of the campaign in six states.

The Chamber of Commerce is spending heavily approaching the $23 million mark. Best guess is that the Chamber will invest $30 million in the midterms.

The total for GOP Dark Money: $505 million

Add $505 Million to $289 Million and you get a total of $794 Million.

$794 Million for the GOP vs. $463 Million for the Dems. 

That’s a $331 Million advantage for the GOP.

How much those politically oriented nonprofit groups will actually raise and spend won’t be known until next spring, when their annual filings to the Internal Revenue Service come due. But while those documents show how much was raised and how it was spent, the names of the donors will likely remain secret forever.

The difference between the two approaches, Light Money in SuperPacs and DarkMoney in Not For Profits, might be unnoticeable to the typical voter. A so-called “issue ad” will recite all the terrible things a senator has done, and then urge viewers to call that senator’s office to register their displeasure. That is what Dark Money is used for. An “express advocacy” ad will recite those same terrible things, but then tell the viewer to vote that senator out of office. That is what Light Money is used for.

Though slight, the distinction makes all the difference in the world, at least in the way the FEC and the IRS interpret election and tax law. By using words like “vote” or “defeat” or “elect,” an ad is seen as attempting to sway an election and dark money may not be used for that. Ads that don’t use those words are merely educating the public on “issues.” The IRS has ruled that nonprofit groups must spend the majority of their money on “social welfare” functions — such as educating the public — in order to maintain the tax status that enables them to keep their donors’ names secret. Most of the ads on TV today fit that description and the GOP has a lot more money for those ads.

Most of this came about as a result of the deconstruction of campaign finance laws and a series of Supreme Court rulings creating a structure that allows the wealthy to influence elections without public accountability, thereby undermining the “who-gave-who-got” premise behind disclosure laws. Those who regard these structures as good say that disclosure laws unfairly silence their donors because they fear public criticism and boycotts of their businesses.






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“The IRS has ruled that nonprofit groups must spend the majority of their money on “social welfare” functions — such as educating the public — in order to maintain the tax status that enables them to keep their donors’ names secret.”

The above quote is IMHO where the problem lies. Why would you, if you are doing a public service, want to keep your name secret? I continually advocate education as the key to the many problems we have in this nation. When I advocate education I am quick to remind people that education like anything else should be open to scrutiny by those who are being educated. If someone is telling me to dive into a pool without knowing how deep the water is, I want to know that person knows what she/he is talking about. I want to know who the person is, why the person feels it is safe, etc., etc. In elections where the public is being “educated” by someone or in many cases something(PAC’s) that is unwilling to be identified, I say the IRS should be warning the public in every ad, you know, like the ads that say I am Joe Cue Public, and I approve this message. I feel a representative of the IRS should be saying this message cannot be verified for truth, the donors have chosen to remain anonymous, or something to that effect.

I truly can’t believe our government has come to this point, where money, or the best hustle in this case decides who will be making decisions for us, the citizens of this country. Oligarchy? You betcha!

The days of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington are apparently over. K Street and Billionaires are apparently in charge, and no matter how much “grassroots money” either party raises, which IMO these days is just icing on the cake, Dark Money being the cake, makes an iota of a difference. We as citizens as long as we allow Citizens United, and other legislation that skews the way our elections are held, this game of campaign donations and what money comes from where and goes for what really doesn’t matter.


Monica, excellent post as usual. Why do the NFL,NHL,PGA, and LPGA have nonprofit status? What do they do that helps educate the public? Why do they want to keep donors names secrete?


The “old boys network” is alive and well Nirek. Here’s an article you might like to read: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/01/nfl-tax-exempt/


HI Murph, Why the doom and gloom. The chances the GOP takes the senate are not that good.

Yes the GOP / conservatives cheat in every way but there is some good news.
Women republicans and the LGBT republicans vote against the GOP many times. More the LGBT community. also the college vote will not help the GOP.

minorities seldom vote GOP and about 25 to 30 % vote GOP.

Now the unknown factor is this. How many of these GOP voters on unemployment with no extensions really vote GOP?

the same with the minimum wage republicans. There are 25 million votes that may end up being 5 million votes and distributed to every state may swing the senate races more then you think.

Then there is the military vote. A lot of republicans are not so happy with military h/care benefits Going down and salaries that are going down.

Then there is the voters on SS pensions and many will vote democratic.

Pollsters like the famous ones do not capture this. Since Clinton the measure bias is 4 to 8 points in each state other then the deep red states. They really think that almost all vote the party line. SO i think the best the GOP will have 49 and 48 is more likely now.
( you can hold me to those numbers after the elections). I could be wrong.

Even if they do get 51 they can not pass much. They do have 60. The filibuster rule will have them filibustering their own bills or the dems do. They can get by a veto by the president.

So expect a useless congress again. IN 2016 the dems will bury them in the senate again and win the presidency again.

Evidence the Deep red states have little e college votes so they are 100 e votes short at the beginning. If the dems win Florida the the GOP must take 7 of 8 swings states and that is not very possible in an presidential election. If Texas falls in 2016 the GOP can not win.

The supreme court is a very BIG advantage because they almost always votes for the GOP party platform. Corrupt as possible. The lower supreme courts are more liberal so many things will not get to the supreme court.

SO look to 4 more yrs in 2016 to the dems appointing judges. They can not play the obstructionist to long or they will lose to much creditability.

The top candidates on the GOP in 2016.
Rand paul? well He has to choose between running on the presidential ticket a very long shot or be the senator from Kentucky, He can run for both. He will cahnce having NO political seat at all

Cruz will have problems qualifying being born in canada.

The Chris can not carry the west and mid states.

Bush 3 is a no! Romney is a lose.

Rubio has no real backing from the tea party he is Hispanic.

SO keep your heart up Murph.

Look into the concept of Zero sum gain. It was invented or used by the late Bobby Jones and it is how the The Augusta national golf course is run. It works and is a form of self taxation to keep the greatest Golf course in america work.

Applied to the national tax data by an author in the ivy league schools using 10 tax brackets. I found it in 2010 and adopted it method to a data base that predicts of revenue generated by each of the ten tax groups. The actual numbers are amazing how much multimillionaires and billionaires DO not pay of the national income.

Prosper always The ghost AKA fast flyer AKA RSGmusic.


Another fine post by The Ghost! You make great points.


Thanks humbly Nirek. coming from you it is an honor. You do have a great way to look at things and in your life.

The Ghost is an old nickname from childhood and my playing days in the long past when i played in bands

The other nicknames are not very printable except one. Fast flyer.

have a excellent weekend for You and yours!

A synthesizer can create any instrument made and others that have not been created yet.

from Fast flyer AKA RSGmusic.


Excellent comment RSGmusic!!!


Thanks MA Good friend, humbly I am getting better at this slowly.

Best wishes for the weekend coming up to you and yours.

A synthesizer can create any instrument made and others that have not been created yet.



Funnily enough Murph, I posted this article by Tomasky in today’s MB, and he sums it up pretty well.






Murph, good post. Now, how can Democrats get money out of politics?


Murph, it is akin to traitorous, what the Fecal Five on the SCOTUS have done to our democracy, declaring that those with the most money should have the most influence and power. That is not what a democracy is about, it is a corrupt, elitist philosophy and directly contradicts our Constitution’s intent.

Instead of moving our country towards democracy, they have aggressively moved us farther into plutocracy.

Money is speech? What an easy argument to explode. So the wealthy have unlimited speech and the poor have none, that is how a democracy works? That is what these corrupt adversaries of our democracy have enshrined.

The only way we could move back in the right direction is once the hold of the anti-democratic over the SCOTUS is broken. That’s why it is imperative that a Republican doesn’t become President over the next few terms, at least.

Kennedy and Scalia are 76, Scalia will no doubt hang on as long as he can (Ginsburg is 79 and will need to be replaced before him, Breyer is 74).

Within the next 10 years, it’s likely there will be a real turnover on the SCOTUS which makes the Presidency and control of the Senate from 2016 onward critical. To swing the pendulum back from this extremist agenda, we do need to hold the WH and Senate.

As for whether the dark money will swing races to their side, that is not proven to be the case. Yes, spending to a certain degree can manipulate races but there are plentiful examples, the 2012 elections for instance, where all the dark money and bigger war chests of Repubs didn’t win them elections.

The broader perspective about elections is that voter sentiment will always trump money, if the money is spent in opposition to voter sentiment.

Off year elections though are more vulnerable on this due to the lower turnout but when one considers how dismayed most Americans are right now at the way things are and that they typically blame the party with the Presidency, it’s fascinating to see Dems very competitive even in red states Obama lost by big margins to Romney and a number of governorships they may take over too.

GOTV will overcome all the millions the Kochs and others pour into their propaganda campaigns to build their plutocracy. We need to work hard to support, encourage and inspire others to get out there and vote on Nov. 4th!


Ad, lets hope that the awful five retire one way or another in the next two years. Then and only then we can get money out of our elections.


Agreed Nirek.

prosper and in good health!!


HI Adlib your comment is excellent. I agree on all points presented.

long life an have a great weekend.

A synthesizer can create any instrument made and others that have not been created yet.

The Ghost!!