Anonymous Corporate Money — What The Public Thinks

The election is being flooded with corporate money, and much of it is anonymous, coming through groups such as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads that is set up as a “charity” in order to prevent disclosure of donors.  The Chamber of Commerce is also refusing to disclose who is donating, not even whether foreign companies are helping fund the ad blitz. 

According to Media Matters, Right-Wing Groups Have Now Aired 60,000+ TV Ads Since Aug. 1,

The Chamber of Commerce spent at least $9.8 million to run fully 4,706 ads in just one week, meaning it eclipsed Americans for Prosperity (another apparent dropout from the big-money class). The Chamber reported even more spending ($10.7 million) to the FEC, but $949,886 of that spending appeared to be double-reported. Either way, the business lobby dropped a CEO’s salary to influence our elections in just a few days. Makes you wonder what they’re expecting in return.

The other big-bucks story is more complicated. The innocent-sounding Commission for Hope, Growth and Prosperity — a 501(c)4* founded by GOP operative Scott Reed — has posted a startling 

2,153 ads since late September. We don’t know how much money they spent doing it, because Reed’s group has yet to report a cent of spending to the FEC…

Do voters care?  According to the Greg Sargent, blogging at Washington PostYes, voters do care about secret cash funding elections!

The poll finds that two thirds of registered voters, or 66 percent, are aware that outside groups are behind some of the ads they’re seeing. This makes sense, since the issue has dominated the media amid the battle over the huge ad onslaught against Dems funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s groups.

What’s more, an overwhelming 84 percent say they have a “right to know” who’s bankrolling the ads. And crucially, the poll also found that the issue is resonant when linked to the economy. A majority, 53 percent, are less likely to think a candidate who is backed by “anonymous groups” can be trusted to “improve economic conditions” for them or their families. People don’t believe these groups are looking out for their interests.

The question is, can the public even learn about this, while filtering through the thousands and thousands of anonymous corporate ads?

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