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-By Jia Lynn Yang and Tom Hamburger
November 7, 2012- The day after an election in which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent millions of dollars backing losing Republican candidates, executives began the brutal process of assessing what went wrong at the nation’s leading business organization.
The Chamber spent nearly $24 million to defeat several high- profile Democratic Senate candidates, including Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, former governor Timothy M. Kaine in Virginia and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But out of 15 Senate races where the business organization put down money, only two went the Chamber’s way.
The results were not much better in the House, where the Chamber poured more than $7 million into 22 races, according to the CRP. The Chamber’s candidates picked up only four wins.
-By Paul Blumnthal
November 4, 2012- WASHINGTON -- The independent group American Crossroads, a super PAC, and Crossroads GPS, a social welfare non-profit, set a goal to raise and spend $300 million on the 2012 election. When all is said and done on Nov. 6, they will, in all likelihood, have reached or come incredibly close to that once unbelievable goal.
The two groups, founded by Republican political operative Karl Rove and others in 2010, have already spent $271 million, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission and press releases.
Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio told The Huffington Post that the groups will succeed in their $300 million effort.
"The Crossroads groups will meet their goal of raising $300m for the 2011-12 cycle because there is a great desire to change the direction of the country and donors see Crossroads as an effective and efficient platform for effecting change," he wrote in an email.
-By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
October 29, 2012- American democracy is under assault.
In one super-PAC alone, Karl Rove and the Enron grifter Ed Gillespie, have assembled $200 million from big polluters and Wall Street moguls to buy the 2012 election.
Two of the Koch Brothers, Charles and David, pledged $130 million to elect candidates who favor unrestrained corporate profiteering.
The senators and congressmen they fund and elect are not representing the United States-they are representing Koch and its oil industry cronies, Big Pharma, and the Wall Street banksters currently mounting a hostile takeover of our government.
I have no problem characterizing these corporate-centric super-PACs as treasonous. We are now in a free fall toward old-fashioned oligarchy; noxious, thieving and tyrannical.
The most corporate-friendly Supreme Court since the Gilded Age had declared in its notorious Citizens United decision that corporations are people and that money is speech. Those who have the most money now have the loudest voices in our democracy while poor Americans are mute.
The One Percent is not only increasing their share of wealth — they’re using it to spread millions among political candidates who serve their interests. Example: Goldman Sachs, which gave more money than any other major American corporation to Barack Obama in 2008, is switching alliances this year; their employees have given $900,000 both to Mitt Romney’s campaign and to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. Why? Because, says the Wall Street Journal, the Goldman Sachs gang felt betrayed by President Obama’s modest attempts at financial reform.
Pro Publica: Dark Money Group Told IRS It Wouldn’t Be Political—Then Spent $1 Million on Campaign Ads
-by Justin Elliott
October 4, 2012- A dark money nonprofit group that has run more than $1 million in ads in the Ohio race for U.S. Senate told the IRS last year it did not plan to spend any money to influence elections when it applied for recognition of its tax-exempt status.
ProPublica first reported on the group, the Government Integrity Fund, after information from television station political ad files became available online (see our Free the Files project), showing extensive spending by the Fund.
-By Justin Sink and Cameron Joseph
October 2, 2012- The conservative super-PAC backed by former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove announced Tuesday that it would purchase $11 million in television commercials this week, their largest one-week buy of the election, in a new campaign slamming President Obama's jobs record.
The significant ad buy from American Crossroads comes on top of an additional $1 million radio buy and a $4 million television campaign targeting U.S. Senate races in North Dakota, Florida, Virginia and Montana, the group reported Tuesday. The Senate ads will be funded by Crossroads GPS, an affiliated political advocacy organization.
"Obama's weak leadership has yielded weak results and a weaker America. Staying on Obama’s course means a weaker America every day," Crossorads Chairman Steven Law, a former Bush administration official, said in a statement.
October 2, 2012- WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported an investment of $4 million to help 10 Republican congressional candidates in California and Illinois.
The advertisements all begin with a 10-second clip of Darlene Miller, the winner of the Chamber's Small Business of the Year in 2008, explaining that uncertainty over taxes and health care is preventing her from hiring more workers. Then they shift to nearly identical attacks on their intended Democratic targets, criticizing higher taxes, cuts to Medicare, health care reform and high energy costs.
The Chamber ad blitz heralds the beginning of the coming crush of third-party advertising directed at House races. Super PACs, unions, trade associations and non-profits already have spent $39 million since June on general election campaign efforts, ahead of their pace in the previous election. Over the next 30 days, these groups will spend between double and triple that amount just in House races.
From the numbers they cite to the illustrations they use, some of the televised anti-Obama commercials developed for conservative political groups are indistinguishable except for the disclaimer saying who approved the message
-By Jeremy W. Peters
September 24, 2012- Independent political groups have long been the guerrilla warriors of presidential elections, tossing explosive advertisements into the middle of a campaign like hand grenades, with little regard for the strategy of the candidate they support.
But this year, in a tight race that leaves very little room for error, the conservative “super PACs” and other outside entities working to defeat President Obama have reached a consensus: Going off message is simply too risky.
A U.S. Court of Appeals panel reverses a decision requiring groups that run election-related TV ads to reveal their donors. Conservative groups spending heavily in the 2012 campaign cheer the move.
-By Matea Gold
September 18, 2012- Conservative groups pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the 2012 campaign won a reprieve Tuesday when the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington overturned a decision requiring organizations that run election-related television ads to reveal their donors.
In an unsigned decision, a three-judge panel said a lower court erred in finding that Congress intended to require such disclosure. It sent a case brought by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) against the Federal Election Commission back to the district court and called on the FEC to defend its regulations or issue new ones.