Report: Reclaiming Our Democracy

Outside Spending, Outside Influence

Big and Secret Money in Ohio in the 2012 Election
Released by: Ohio PIRG Education Fund

The 2012 elections were by far the most expensive in history thanks primarily to the tidal wave of outside, special interest money triggered by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The federal Senate and House races in Ohio, where outside groups spent nearly $41.3 million, were no exception.

SUPER PACs

Super PACs, the newly created groups that can raise and spend unlimited funds in elections, spent roughly $18.8 million on Ohio federal elections. Nationwide, Super PACs raised 86% of funds from an elite set of ultra-wealthy donors and businesses giving $100,000 or more.

Super PACs also received $101,749,662 from business corporations last year. Allowing special interests to fund attack ads on candidates distorts our democracy in an attempt to ensure that our elected officials put industry and out-of-state interests above the common good.

[Outside Spending: 501(c)(4) $12,274,885.79, 29.74%; 501(c)(6) $4,672,434.00, 11.32%; 527 $5,535,965.35, 13.41%; SuperPAC $18,769,524.45, 45.48%; 501(c)(5) Union $15,000.00, 0.04%; Total $41,267,809.59]

SECRET SPENDERS

Dark money groups accounted for 41.07% of all outside spending in Ohio House and Senate races. These groups do not disclose the source of their funds, hiding critical information from voters about who is behind the advertising and what interests are backing which candidates.

[Secret Spending: Secret $16,947,319.79, 41.07%; Not Secret $24,320,489.80, 58.93%]

OUT-OF-STATE SPENDERS

Groups federally registered outside of Ohio accounted for 95.62% of all outside spending in Ohio House and Senate races. Out-of-state spenders are likely to put their own priorities ahead of the needs and interests of Ohioans, thus skewing the relationships that Representatives and Senators have with their constituencies.

[Spending Origin: In-State $1,805,650.44, 4.38%; Out-of-State $39,462,159.15, 95.62%]

TOP 5 OUTSIDE SPENDERS IN OHIO HOUSE AND SENATE RACES

1) CROSSROADS GRASSROOTS POLICY STRATEGIES:
$6,363,712.63 – Dark Money Group

2) US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:
$4,392,434.00 – Dark Money Group

3) MAJORITY PAC:
$3,228,006.74 – Super PAC

4) AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM:
$3,125,329.96 – Dark Money Group

5) CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP FUND:
$2,743,676.60 – Super PAC

TOP 5 OUTSIDE SPENDERS NATIONWIDE IN HOUSE AND SENATE RACES

1) CROSSROADS GRASSROOTS POLICY STRATEGIES:
$48,440,338.67 – Dark Money Group

2) MAJORITY PAC:
$37,865,453.41 – Super PAC

3) US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE :
$32,676,075.00 – Dark Money Group

4) HOUSE MAJORITY PAC:
$30,686,449.27 – Super PAC

5) FREEDOMWORKS FOR AMERICA:
$19,045,274.64 – Super PAC

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