Hype: Despite Allegations of Secret Money, Democrats Flaunt $270 Million Advantage
There have been allegations waged that many so-called Tea Party candidates running under the flag of the Republican Party are accepting campaign contributions from secretive shady sources that could interfere with the American democratic process. This has led to outlandish claims from left-wingers that Chinese dictators could be paying off some GOP candidates so that they’ll eventually export jobs overseas.
However, rarely mentioned by these same campaign finance alarmists that generally reside on the left of the political spectrum is that the Democratic candidates have outraised their Republican candidates by a lofty margin – $270 million according to a story an Oct. 26 Politico story by Jeanne Cummings.
Cummings appeared on CNBC’s Oct. 27 “Power Lunch” to elaborate on her story, which she explained that since the Democratic Party has had control of the Congress for nearly four years, they’ve been able to generate a large war chest for the upcoming 2010 election cycle.
“Well, it's so true,” Cummings said. “There's been so much focus on the Republican outside spending that was what had been overlooked is that the Republicans – the Democratic majorities had actually built up a very large war chest to try to get them through these midterms. And the Democratic Party committees including the state committees and the national committees, they had outraised the Republicans by almost $300 million. So the Democrats have plenty of resources on their side, too.”
Cummings suggested that when it is all said and done, the GOP “may well” outspend the Democrats. But she said the issue lies in a conservative electorate that may or may not be disenfranchised by the hierarchies of the Republican Party power structure, which some aspects have been plagued by scandal, and therefore a conservative voter may look else where for a place to make political contributions.
“Well, the Democrats argue that in the end they may well be outspent,” Cummings said. “But they won't really know it because some of the Republican groups have organized themselves under certain tax codes as charities or educational institutions. And so they don't have to disclose their donors, and they don't have to file regular reports that show how they're spending their money. The thing we can see is when they buy advertising because that can be tracked. And in that case, the conservative groups certainly have gone a long way in making up the gap between the Republicans and the Democratic Party, but they haven't closed it yet. But they are outspending the liberal-leaning outside groups nearly two-to-one.”
But money doesn’t always mean success, according to CNBC Washington correspondent Eamon Javers. Javers explained the Democrats were able to target their money to “hotly contested races.” So based on that report, the idea that there was some sort of disadvantage for the party in power seems to be a media-generated myth.
“Just ask Meg Whitman in California how much money matters,” Javers said. “She has spent north of $100 million of her own personal fortune and she's trailing in the polls, believe it or not. So money can't win you a race. But in these tight races, it does matter in terms of who can get the mailings out, who can get the television ads up on the air and who can do the get-out-the-vote effort. And so that makes a big difference. If you drill down to some of these tightly contested races and even the Tea Party candidates who got a lot of political momentum who might be taking away seats from the Democrats, you look at the Democrats in those races – a lot of them have a lot more money than those Tea Party candidates do, despite all the hype and momentum that the Tea Party has. The Democrats still have a cushion in some of those hotly contested races. That's going to make a difference coming down the stretch here in the last six days this campaign.”
This didn’t stop Cummings from alluding to the left-wing meme that Republicans are accepting contributions from “secret donors,” but expressed ambivalence on whether or not it would be an effective means to score political points for Democratic candidates.
“Well, I certainly think the Democrats are definitely trying to make an issue of particularly the secret donors and that is a real phenomenon in this race,” Cummings said. “And they are trying to make the argument to the voters that they should care about this outside money because the voters themselves won't know who the candidate, the Republican candidate, will be accountable to. Will it be to the voters themselves, or will it be to a group of donors and no one knows who those donors are? That's the – a major closing argument that the Democrats are trying to make. We'll see if it – if it gains traction.”