The Twisted Money Trail

Background

In perhaps the most dangerous decision of this year, last January the Supreme Court of the United States effectively ruled that corporations had the right to freedom of speech and by that extension the right to practically buy elections. Why does a national decision need to be mentioned in a state electoral politics blog? The answer lies in the current Senate race between Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey.

Escalation

America’s election campaigns have consistently become more costly. The presidential campaign’s are usually the poster child for this escalation, but even on the more local level the escalation has started. As opensecrets.org reports:

What should be startling to all is that just in Pennsylvania the race between Sestak and Toomey  has already become an almost 16 million dollar campaign. In  time of financial distress perhaps this next statistic of the total dollars the senate race has already cost:So the money needed to win a Senate race has increased, but why does it matter?

Rise of Corporate Donations

Crossroads GPS, Chamber of Commerce, Club for Growth, Crossroads America, Americans United for Life, Citizens United, and Freedom Works, nonprofit’s devoted to the prosperity of the nation right? Unfortunately no, these are all groups that have together spent millions on the Senate Election in PA alone. Executed via  backroom deals, these PAC groups have quietly channeled corporate money and special interest dollars into attack ads designed to influence the electorate. In fact, organizations like the Chamber of Commerce which is spending tens of millions on such attack ads have received the money from foreign corporations and entities. To amp up this story, all the money raised from the out of state based aforementioned groups is going directly to Republican candidates. Interestingly enough despite strong show from individual donations, Joe Sestak trails Pat Toomey by millions of dollars in total donations. As the Associated Press reports,

“Money is again flowing into the state — estimates from the campaigns suggest that outside groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Club for Growth and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, have already spent $6 million to $7 million on TV ads since July.”

Not surprisingly Toomey has managed to out raise Sestak in every quarter.

Conclusion

The most despicable part of this new corporate financed elections is the fact that the ads they run are false! As Politifact’s independent evaluation of some of their ads confirms, there is a serious problem with these false, and misleading attack ads.

American Crossroads

CrossRoads GPS

US Chamber of Commerce

It really should come at no surprise that these ads are misinformed, and exploit genuine fears through terribly misleading ads. After all the members behind these groups are none other than the architects of the Republicans victory in 2004. Furthermore it appears some of these groups will not be around in a few years as the IRS is pressured to investigate the organizations, however the damage they’ve done can not be reversed.  With such major players interfering in a local Senate election, do Pennsylvanian’s even have a say for who they want to represent them? Well, if the polls continue the way they are, it appears the answer is no.

– K.R.

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  • About Us

    Pennforge is a group of college kids excited to follow the 2010 elections of Pennsylvania. We hope to highlight the candidates, the issues, and any race drama that may come up. Thanks for following!
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