Secret Campaign Donors Overwhelmingly Attack Democrats and Support Republicans

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Secretive shadow money organizations with hidden campaign donors—mainly corporations and rich people—favor Republican candidates over Democrats by a margin of about 4½ to one, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). Deceptively organized as “social welfare” nonprofits under § 501(c)(4) of the IRS code, groups such as Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity are actually political, but are allowed to keep their donors secret.


According to the CRP, 82% of the reported secret money, $164 million, has been spent attacking Democrats or supporting Republicans, while only $36 million has gone to opposing Republicans or helping Democrats. Because the shadow groups are required to report only a fraction of their spending to the Federal Election Commission, CRP believes that millions more have been spent and not disclosed.


Four candidates have drawn shadow money spending at least $10 million, either for or against:


Barack Obama (D): Support: $1.1 million / Oppose: $74.1 million / Ratio: 67.3 to 1 Against


Mitt Romney (R): Support: $8.8 million / Oppose: $5.1 million / Ratio: 1.7 to 1 For


Tim Kaine (D-Virginia): Support: $11,000 / Oppose: $11.4 million / Ratio: 1,036 to 1 Against


Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio): Support: $100,000 / Oppose: $9.7 million / Ratio: 97 to 1 Against


Thus in the presidential race alone, Romney has benefited from $82.9 million of shadow money, while Obama has been aided by $6.2 million, a ratio of 13.4 to 1. More than 14 times as much secret money has been spent opposing President Barack Obama as has been spent attacking Mitt Romney, while 8 times as much has been spent supporting Romney as has been spent attacking him.


Given the unprecedented millions being spent to attack him on a daily basis, it would not be unreasonable for President Obama to be pleased with the modest leads he currently holds in both national polls and the more important state-level electoral college surveys.


-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Shadow Money’s Top 10 Candidates (by Robert Maguire and Viveca Novak, OpenSecretsBlog)

Outside Spending Index (OpenSecrets)



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