July 28, 2014

Secret money pours into elections

New report details secret money pouring into Wisconsin elections. Outside spending organizations reported $167.5 million in spending to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). “The most disturbing thing that we found was that the vast majority of super PAC money and outside spending in our elections is coming from just a few people, just a few very, very wealthy people.” Tabitha Woodruff of Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) continues, “This means that these people are having a disproportionate influence, a disproportionate voice on our elections and what people in Wisconsin and across the country are hearing about the elections.”

Woodruff says voters deserve to know who’s behind the money, and what is their agenda. A report analyzing the latest campaign filings is called Megaphones for Millionaires. Woodruff says it shows that unlimited, corporate, and secret money undermines the principle of ‘one person, one vote’. “Over half of the money raised by super PACs has come from just 47 individuals who are giving at least $1 million a piece.” Outside spending in the Wisconsin senatorial race has already exceeded $4.5 million, with more ‘secret money’ expected before the November election.

The report has nine recommendations, including the required disclosure of all funds being spent and the donors behind the funds. Also, Woodruff says the feds should issue stronger regulations that establish legitimate separation between candidates and Super PACs. WISPIRG wants an amendment to the U.S. Constitution saying governments can put limits on the amount individuals and corporations can contribute to campaigns.

Public policy organizations Demos and WISPIRG released a report called Megaphones for Millionaires: Super PACs and Unlimited Outside Spending in the 2012 Elections, which provides analysis of Federal Election Commission data and secondary sources on outside spending and Super PAC fundraising for 2012 election cycle.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:44