Special interest sided with Democrats in 2010 election

Tim Carney:

Democrats raised far more money from political action committees this past election than Republicans did, even counting the new "Super PACs" President Obama claimed were giving the GOP a corporate-funded unfair advantage.

Final campaign finance figures from the Federal Election Commission have come in, and they show a very different picture from the one painted by Obama and most of the media. The Democrats' advantage in money from traditional PACs was just about 10 times the size of the Republicans' advantage from the new Super PACs.

The Obama line -- special interests, upset about the Democrats' tough reforms, favored the GOP -- got plenty play this cycle, and fit neatly into many journalists' prejudices. But the truth is more complicated. Both parties are probably equally cozy with special interests.

PAC giving is a good measure of corporate political leanings, and by any measure, PACs gave more to Democratic candidates. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, traditional PACs -- which are limited to $10,000 to each candidate -- gave $220 million to Democratic House and Senate candidates this cycle, compared with $153 million to Republicans.

Some of the Democrats' PAC advantage stems from PACs' tendency to mostly fund incumbents -- and Democrats had a lot more of those. But even adjusting for Democrats' numerical advantage, you get a similar story: The average House Democrat running for re-election raised $677,409 from PACs, compared with $530,492 for the average Republican. On the Senate side, Democrats enjoyed a narrower advantage: $1.85 million to $1.61 million on average.

There is more.

This does not even count the advantage the Democrats had with the unions who out spent the Republican "super PACs" by a large margin. The Democrats were not out spent in 2010, but they did resent the fact that the GOP was competitive and more importantly, it had a message the Democrats had difficulty dealing with because of the failure of liberalism.


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