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Some Early Returns From First Post-Citizens United Election

Filed by KOSU News in Politics.
November 13, 2012

Political observers are still working through the rubble of the unprecedented $6 billion presidential campaign, but we’re getting a steady stream of reaction and analysis.

The liberal advocacy groups USPIRG and Demos have one of the most striking numerical comparisons: 1.4 million to 61.

That is, it took more than 1.4 million donors for President Obama and Mitt Romney to raise $285.2 million through one traditional fundraising avenue — the campaign’s small, unitemized contributions of $200 or less.

It took 61 wealthy donors to give the same amount of money to through a new player — the unregulated superPACs.

Specifically, the $285.2 million came from a minimum of 1,425,500 donors, most of them giving to the Obama campaign. But it would be matched by merely 61 of the 132 donors who gave at least $1 million to superPACs involved in the presidential race, like the pro-Romney Restore Our Future and the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action.

The USPIRG-Demos report says those 132 largest donors gave an average $4.7 million each to superPACs.

On Friday, George Washington University Law School assembles some of the mavens of the political money world for a post-election assessment of the hot-button issues of political money and voting rights.

And a few groups already are using the numbers from the just-ended election to launch efforts to changes campaign finance law: the public watchdog Common Cause wants a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that, more than anything else, uncorked the big money; and the liberal United Republic, which says it is “dedicated to ending the corrupting influence of money in politics,” unveiled a proposal on Tuesday seeking online “citizen co-sponsors” of a plan to overhaul political finance and lobbying laws. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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