Shocking Election Facts

by Public Citizen

Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $97: The amount per vote spent by Nevada Republican Sharron Angle and Connecticut Republican Linda McMahon – a record.
  • $69: The amount per vote spent by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev).
  • $33: The average cost of a vote in the midterms.
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October saw record number of political ads on TV

A record number of political ads ran on TV in October – even more than during the same month in 2008, when the presidential contest was in its final month. An estimated 1.48 million political ads aired on TV last month, compared to 1.41 million in October 2008. Hot spots for ads were Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif. and Seattle, Wash. Wow. Can’t wait for 2012.

Counting noses: How to get the DISCLOSE Act passed

Time is running out for advocates of disclosure to get the DISCLOSE Act passed – a measure designed to make public the funders of political ads and introduced in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts to influence elections. The House of Representatives passed the DISCLOSE Act in the summer, but it stalled in the Senate because not a single Republican has broken ranks to support it. With just a few weeks left before Republicans take over the House, campaign finance advocates are eyeing potential Senate votes for the act: Sen.-elect Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who is taking office this month and is a campaign finance reform advocate, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who was the target of some vicious attack ads during the primary.

Koch Industries spent $1.7 million on midterms

Koch Industries, the company run by two wealthy conservative brothers, spent nearly $1.7 million in the midterms, Capitol News Connection reports. The expenditures included $1.2 million to 169 congressional candidates, most of which were Republicans or Tea Party candidates, and $439,750 to 65 leadership political action committees.

Want an appointment with a senator? Better hope you’re a lobbyist

A Colorado business consultant tried a little experiment during the health care debate: He called senators’ office and asked for an appointment. Sometimes he called as a private citizen, sometimes as a business lobbyist. As a lobbyist, he got meetings with senators nearly four times as often as when he was seeking a meeting as a concerned citizen. As a lobbyist, he scored 25 meetings with staffers and two with senators; but as a citizen, not a single senator would meet with him to discuss the health care bill.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Alito puts his money behind conservative causes

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was spotted recently at a fundraiser for the conservative magazine American Spectator along with such heavyweights as Michael Steele, chair of the Republican National Committee. In the past, Alito – known for siding with business and conservatives in his court rulings – has helped raise money to help conservative candidates. When a Think Progress blogger confronted Alito at the magazine’s fundraiser and questioned the propriety of his political activity, Alito replied, “It’s not important that I’m here.”

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This is issue #38 of “Money and Democracy Update,” Public Citizen’s weekly e-newsletter about the intersection of money and politics. It is part of their ongoing campaign to track the results of — and ultimately overturn — the Supreme Court’s reckless decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows for-profit corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or attack political candidates.

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