Aiming to bolster what are expected to be significant Republican gains in
the 2010 midterms, pro-GOP groups are planning an advertising blitz in
the final week before election day. These loosely affiliated groups,
such as the American Action Network and American Crossroads, are
invested in nearly 80 House races and have committed at least $45 million for
ads, according to a New York Times report. The heavy political spending from relatively anonymous sources comes on the heels of the debate about how "foreign" money and unlimited corporate spending
will shape this year's campaign. In order to manage expectations, some
Democrats (including high-profile figures Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden)
have seized the issue, complaining that "money from God knows where" will sway election returns.
- 'Outside Money Should Be an Issue for Democrats' In a Washington Post column, E.J. Dionne argues that Democrats "ought to be asking, even more forcefully than they have been, what these secret donors expect for their money. You can be sure that the benefactors will not keep their identities hidden from the members of Congress they help elect. Only the voters will be in the dark." The columnist, who doesn't point the blame solely at Republicans, explains that this money has flowing under "shamelessly loose" Federal Election Committee rules (and aided by the Supreme Court's Citizens United verdict) so that the funds don't have to be disclosed.
- Anyone Who Thinks This Is Good 'Isn't Paying Attention' argues Washington Monthly's Steve Benen. Even though this issue is getting "some discussion," Benen underscores the seriousness of campaign financing by "shadowy far-right groups," emphasizing many of the points that E.J. Dionne makes in his Washington Post column. While Republicans will deem democrats to be "whining" about such funding, "dismissing this as little more than an after-the-fact rationalization is a mistake. For one thing, the argument happens to be true. For another, the new system is simply unhealthy."
- Democrats' Line of Attack: 'Conservatives Bought Their Way to Power' Politico's Jonathan Martin reports that if Republicans, as expected, make significant gains in Congress, Democratic operatives will incessantly trumpet this sentiment: "A tough-but-manageable political climate turned much more lethal with the infusion of tens of millions of dollars from anonymous donors funding ads for right-leaning independent groups." Nancy Pelosi, he notes, has already made this claim: "Everything was going great and all of a sudden secret money from God knows where — because they won't disclose it — is pouring in."
- These Groups Are Neither 'Anonymous' Nor 'Sinister' contends right-leaning radio host Hugh Hewitt on his blog. Hewitt recounts attending one of these group's events: "I was at one such gathering on Saturday in Clark, New Jersey, where Americans for Prosperity brought together a few hundred volunteers to rally and then disperse to work as standard volunteers for the next ten days. This is the essence of democracy, and the left's narrative about 'unseen forces' and 'foreign money' is very amusing when anyone considers the role of George Soros and the Colorado billionaires over the past half-decade."