This Week in Dark Money: June 1, 2012

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We’re proud to collaborate with Mother Jones in sharing insightful journalism related to money and politics. We’ll be posting this weekly roundup every Friday. Share your thoughts about these must-read stories and always feel free to suggest your own in the comments section.

A quick look at the week that was in the world of political dark money

THE MONEY SHOT

Total raised by super PACs (so far): $218 million
Ratio of spending by conservative super PACs to liberal super PACs: 7.7 to 1
Total raised by Barack Obama: $217.1 million
Total raised by Mitt Romney: $97.9 million
Total raised by congressional candidates: $639.4 million
Total raised by state candidates: $378.6 million

Sources: Center for Responsive Politics, National Institute for Money in State Politics

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“This idea of giving public beatings has been around for a long time…You go back to the Dark Ages when they put these people in the stocks or whatever they did, or publicly humiliated them as a deterrent to everybody else—watch this—watch what we do to the guy who did this.”
— Frank VanderSloot, CEO of the direct-marketing company Melaleuca, speaking to Politico about the public humilation of being a Romney megadonor.

STAT OF THE WEEK

$1 billion: How much conservative outside groups plan to spend on the 2012 race for the White House, Politico reports. That includes $400 million from organizations connected to the Koch brothers’ dark-money efforts.

RACE OF THE WEEK

David Dewhurst v. Ted Cruz: Outside groups spent more than $6.4 million ahead of Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary between Texas Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and tea partier/former state Solicitor General Cruz. Neither managed to snag more than 50 percent of the vote, so they’re headed to a July runoff — and probably a fresh influx of super PAC cash.

ATTACK ADS OF THE WEEK

A couple of new attack ads released Tuesday by the Romney campaign and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads super PAC lobbed remarkably similar criticisms at Obama’s investments in energy companies like Solyndra. The Obama campaign and the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA have also aired curiously overlapping ads. It’s illegal for candidates and super PACs to coordinate their messages, but even if they did, the fines would likely be negligible, and the Federal Election Commission can’t even agree on what exactly defines “coordination.”

Here’s the Romney ad:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQUyS9H6ioI]

And American Crossroads’:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tjfQA4lkbo]

MORE MOJO DARK MONEY COVERAGE

Half of Scott Walker’s Cash Comes From Out-of-State Dark-Money Donors: GOP heavyweights pour millions into “ground zero for the battle against Obama’s liberal agenda.”
Our Nation’s Biggest Money Problem of All: There appears to be no stopping the tidal wave of money that’s overtaken our political system.
Bye, Bye Buddy: Ex-Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer is dropping out of the presidential race. A look at the political and personal demons that fueled his feisty campaign.
No Disclosure, Please, We’re Contractors: A new bill would make it harder to find out about federal contractors’ dark-money donations.

MORE MUST-READS

• Mystery millions: The source of $55 million doled out by a Koch-connected dark-money group remains unknown. Los Angeles Times
• Then: Obama calls super PAC donors “threat to democracy.” Now: Super PAC donors mingle at the White House. Sunlight Foundation
• Mitt Romney’s billionaire donors expect a big return on their investments. Rolling Stone
• What does John Edwards’ not guilty verdict mean for the future of campaign finance? Christian Science Monitor

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  • Alitza

    My comment on Mr. Frank VanderSloot’s belief that being a mega-donor to anyone is tantamount to public humiliation is “Dude!” If you are writing someone a mega-million dollar check and you don’t feel good about standing behind doing that and standing behind the person for whom you’re doing it??!!! You best take a long hard look at what you are doing!! Then I look at what he does for a living and understand that he probably would consider it humiliation to stand behind what he built… that he passed the exit about “what kind of person would do that” so very long ago… he needs to learn the cost of a very hard earned dollar.

  • http://blog.maysoft.org/ Frank Paolino

    Don’t forget to include massive union spending ( but you did omit it). If you believe money corrupts then you should include those amounts, too. And don’t dissemble about the definitions of pacs. Your article is about dark money, so include it all to be honest to your readers.

    These number show a more even distribution of spending than your numbers
    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php