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Facing South

The New Political Money Game

Date on which a Supreme Court ruling for the first time allowed corporations, unions and other organizations to spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of political candidates: 1/2010Money_stacks-thumb-250x227.jpg

Amount that interest groups and political parties have reported spending on advertising ahead of the November elections: $13.9 million

Percent of that amount spent on behalf of Democrats: 15

Percent spent on behalf of Republicans: 85

Number of conservative groups that have reported spending more than $1 million in the last three weeks: 7

Amount that two anti-tax groups, the Club for Growth and Americans for Tax Reform, each reported spending last week alone: $1 million

Number of liberal groups that have spent more than $1 million in the last three weeks: 0

Total amount that business political action committees gave to candidates from January through July: $72.2 million

Percent of that amount that went to Republican candidates: 52

During the same period last year, percent of corporate PAC money that went to Democratic candidates: 59

Number of donor disclosure requirements that increasingly popular "social welfare" advocacy nonprofits known under the tax code as 501(c)(4) organizations must adhere to under law: 0

Percent of activities engaged in by a 501(c)(4)s that can legally be political: no more than 50

Rank of Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, a 501(c)(4) linked to former Bush advisor Karl Rove, among the biggest spenders in this year's Senate races: 1

Rank of Americans for Prosperity, another pro-Republican 501(c)(4), among the top spenders in this year's House races: 1

Tax code status of the Tea Party Patriots, the Atlanta-based group that made headlines last year for its vocal opposition at congressional town hall meetings on health care reform: 501(c)(4)

Size of the contribution the Tea Party Patriots recently received for the upcoming election from a donor who does not want his name revealed: $1 million

Number of local Tea Party Patriots affiliates to which the grant will be distributed for get-out-the-vote efforts: 2,800

Number of times in the past month that President Obama used his weekly address to call on Senate Republicans to stop blocking the Disclose Act, legislation requiring interest groups to explicitly identify themselves in any campaign advertising they fund: 2

Month the Senate initially failed to overcome a GOP filibuster against the legislation: 7/2010

Date the Senate voted on the legislation again: 9/23/2010

Number of votes by which the Senate failed to invoke cloture and allow the legislation to move ahead: 1

Number of Democrats who voted against moving the bill: 0

Number of Republicans who voted for moving the bill: 0

(Click on figure to go to the source.)

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Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis is the Director and regular contributor to the Institute for Southern Study's online magazine, Facing South, with a focus on energy and environmental issues. Sue is the author or co-author of five Institute reports, including Faith in the Gulf (Aug/Sept 2008), Hurricane Katrina and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (January 2008) and Blueprint for Gulf Renewal (Aug/Sept 2007). Sue holds a Masters in Journalism from New York University.

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