Tag Archives: campaign finance

Bush Super PACs Outspent All Iowa Campaigns, Garnered Sixth-Place Finish

Super PACs supporting the 2016 presidential candidacy of former Florida Republican Governor Jeb Bush spent over $14 million on ads promoting his bid for the GOP nomination in Iowa, which only resulted in a sixth-place finish.

According to Morning Consult’s ad spending data, Bush campaign super PACs spent the most of any candidate in either party on Iowa campaign ads. On the GOP side, Sen. Rubio’s campaign and super PACs spent the second-most at almost $12 million. The campaign and super PACs backing the Republican Party’s Iowa winner Sen. Ted Cruz spent over $7 million on ads in the state, and billionaire Donald Trump netted a second-place finish by spending a little under $4 million.

The Huffington Post notes that Bush spent $2,800 per vote, which is reportedly 18 times what Cruz spent per vote. Bush’s per-vote spending was also 34 times higher than Trump’s and 10 times higher than Rubio’s.

[RELATED: Flier Circulates Offering Voters ‘Fast Cash’ to Fill Seats at Jeb Bush Rally]

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, who finished in fifth place ahead of Bush, only spent a little over $2 million on Iowa ads between his campaign and its supporting super PACs.

Though Bush’s super PACs did outspend all of the other campaigns, his official campaign itself did not spend any money on Iowa ads, suggesting a lack of focus on the state by his campaign. Super PACs supporting the rest of the GOP candidates spent a combined total of a little over $17 million on the race, just over $3 million more than the political action committees supporting Bush.

Following the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC in which the court affirmed the right of individuals, non-profits, and corporations to spend their own money to express their political views, critics claimed that the ruling would lead to a future in which billionaires would purchase election outcomes through the use of super PACs.

While Iowa campaign data alone can not prove or disprove that theory, the results in the Republican caucuses do not appear to show any specific connection between campaign spending and vote totals.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: Citizens United Ruling Lets Advocacy Groups Expose Politicians’ Voting Records]

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and super PACs spent about $1 million more than Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders, though Democratic super PACs only spent a total of $287,000 on the entire contest, most of which was spent by PACs supporting Martin O’Malley.

Money can’t buy votes, apparently,” wrote The Huffington Post in its analysis of Bush’s Iowa ad spending.

For more election coverage, click here.

D.C. Insiders: Team Clinton to Raise Over $2.5 Billion

Is Hillary Clinton the new queen of cronyism? A D.C. insider told BenSwann.com that the GOP nominee would have to face Team Clinton with a $2 billion-plus war chest. Who can stop her?

BenSwann.com’s Joshua Cook asked a national political consultant about his thoughts on the massive amounts of money going to Team Clinton from mainly big corporate donors.

“There is a point of diminished returns with money,” he said. He felt that, so far, Sen. Ted Cruz was raising enough money from smaller donors to be competitive. 

Another D.C. insider told Cook that Donald Trump could be a major player who has the money and is making his rounds in key states like South Carolina.

Though a $2 Billion war chest is intimidating, it may reach a saturation level. Elections isn’t necessarily won on TV,  it’s won on the ground in grassroots.

As reported previously by BenSwann.comSenator Rand Paul took aim at Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation’s mega millions in donated foreign money.

“The focus of conservative candidates shouldn’t be on Clinton, it should be on attacking Jeb Bush,” a S.C. political operative told Cook. “Until Bush is out of the way, Conservatives do not stand a chance. He has that kind of money. Karl Rove is raising tons of money.”


6 Stories The Media Beat to Death in 2014 That Have Faded Into Obscurity

In a digital world the media often struggles to maintain the attention of its audience. Between horrific mass killings, viral outbreaks, violent authority figures, terrorists, and tantalizing political melodrama, the focus of our media shifts constantly.

The following six topics from 2014 were once a major focus of the fleeting attention of the media. Each of them at one point has received overwhelming media attention to become a fixture of American dialogue before fading into obscurity.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Questions remain as to how and where Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 came to its unfortunate end. Two-hundred and thirty nine people were never heard from again after contact was lost with the aircraft in March 2014. Efforts to find the aircraft have not been exhausted as the search continues, but the national media’s unrelenting attention did little to provide substantive insight into the unsolved tragedy.

Since the airliner crashed in March, 24-hour news networks have shifted focus from sensationalized speculation to passive, intermittent reporting.

Israel-Palestine Conflict
Israeli aerial bombings, Operation Protective Edge, of Palestinian-controlled Gaza during the summer of 2014 overshadowed most television news coverage at the end of July and early August.

Since the operations, tensions remain high in the Gaza Strip and surrounding areas. Little, if any progress has been made, but the 24-hour news cycle has moved on to greener pastures.

Campaign Finance Laws
The 2014 midterm election was the most expensive midterm election in American history — totaling $3.67 billion. In part due to the Supreme Court’s April decision on McCutcheon v. FEC which increased the aggregate donation limits to candidates. Coverage of the decision’s possible effect of the decision on the political process remained peripheral throughout the course of the election season. Still, even after a report by the Center for Responsive Politics detailed the final cost, media attention remained elsewhere.

In January 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie became the subject of a firestorm of media attention after allegations that political retribution affected the lives of NJ and NY citizens due to bridge closures and traffic congestion on the Washington Bridge. What became known as ‘Bridgegate’ was believed to be an act of revenge against elected officials that did not officially support Christie’s campaign. A probe into the incident has been conducted for months with no end in sight, but national attention has shifted following the end of the midterm election season.

Government Surveillance
Thrust into the American zeitgeist following Snowden’s release of classified documents, government monitoring and mass intelligence gathering became a controversial focus of media attention and public opinion. But, media attention on the subject has remained reactive and sparse.

For instance, at the beginning of 2014, a report addressed dealings between Internet providers and intelligence agencies over use of customer data. Coverage of government surveillance programs following these negotiations have been limited. In November, Congress blocked a bill that would reform information gathering programs used by the NSA. Yet, during the same period, the media and the nation remained focused on the decision of a St. Louis grand jury.

9/11 Report

The potential release of 28 pages of the 9/11 report received limited focus following the shooting death of Michael Brown. The report would implicate the Saudi government in having a larger role in the attack than previously expressed but the report received less attention than more sensational events.

The overall purpose of the media is to direct the audience’s focus and keep it. In an effort to do so, the media must constantly develop stories and shift focuses to meet the demands of their audience. But a danger exists; with so many sources of information constantly vying for our attention, how do we know that information we receive is anything but entertainment?

Supreme Court Strikes Down Limits On Election Donations, GOP Candidates Turn To Adelson For Potential Support



On Wednesday, the Supreme Court struck down a key part of federal campaign finance law by allowing donors to give money to as many political candidates, parties and committees as they choose. This ruling comes just in time for contentious mid-terms and the 2016 presidential race.


Divided along ideological camps, the 5-4 ruling eliminated limits on how much money people can donate in total in one election season.


What the court left in place was the $2,600 per candidate limit that any one individual can give any particular candidate during an election cycle.


In 2010, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion of the court’s conservative majority:


“The right to participate in democracy through political contributions is protected by the First Amendment, but that right is not absolute.”


The decision left intact the current $5,200 limit on how much an individual can give to any single candidate during a two-year election cycle.


Though now, a donor can give to as many candidates as he or she chooses.


The aggregate limits were put in place to reduce corruption. “We conclude, however, that the aggregate limits do little, if anything, to address that concern, while seriously restricting participation in the democratic process. The aggregate limits are therefore invalid under the First Amendment,” Roberts wrote.


In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer said the majority opinion will have the effect of creating “huge loopholes in the law; and that undermines, perhaps devastates, what remains of campaign finance reform.”


This ruling comes days after several potential Republican presidential nominees were in Las Vegas, hoping to get on billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s donor list.

Adelson is changing up how he backs a candidate. Sources close to him say he doesn’t want to repeat what happened in 2012 where Adelson gave $92 million to mostly losing candidates, including Newt Gingrich.


According to the Washington Post, the casino magnate is looking to back more mainstream Republicans with a clear shot at winning the White House.

During the Republican Jewish Coalition gathering last week at Adelson’s Venetian hotel, Republican hopefuls kowtowed to Adelson in hope of receiving some of his $39.9 billion fortune.


John Kasich, the Ohio governor, kept addressing his speech to “Sheldon,” as if he was having a private conversation with him.


Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker spoke about the Hebrew meaning of his son, Matthew’s, name. He also mentioned that he has a menorah along side his Christmas tree.


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talked about a recent trip to Israel and the “occupied territories.”


According to the New York Times, a shocked whisper went through the crowd. Even before Christie left the stage, leaders of the group told him he had stumbled, badly. Afterward, Christie apologized to Adelson for the gaffe.

Earlier in the week, Adelson met privately with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition’s senior members at Adelson’s company airport hangar.


Who will get Adelson’s support is still undetermined. But “The bar for support is going to be much higher,” said Andy Abboud, Adelson’s top political adviser and an executive at the Adelson-run Las Vegas Sands Corp. “There’s going to be a lot more scrutiny.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham is pandering to Adelson too. Graham is facing 5 challengers this primary.

Graham is advancing legislation that will ban online gambling that will eliminate Adelson’s competition. Graham recently said that Casino magnate and GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson has “aligned himself with most Baptists in S.C.”

Victor Chaltiel, a GOP donor and an Adelson friend who sits on the board of Las Vegas Sands, said at this early stage in the 2016 sweepstakes, Adelson is “neutral” and has his eye on a number of potential candidates, including Bush and Christie.

“He doesn’t want a crazy extremist to be the nominee,” Chaltiel said. “He wants someone who has the chance to win the election, who is reasonable in his positions, who has convictions but is not totally crazy.”

Last year, Adelsom has made his own controversial remarks though. He suggested that the U.S. should launch a nuclear strike in the desert, then Tehran if they didn’t give up their nuclear program. See video below.