This morning a startling report was released by John Hawkins of Right Wing News that illustrated how 17 conservative PACs are spending the donations they receive, and some of the results will shock you. Not only are some of these committees not donating to the campaigns of conservative candidates, but in some cases, the money just disappears altogether. This report is not meant to discourage people from donating to grassroots organizations, but rather, an encouragement to keep an eye open for scams. Not every group with “conservative” or “Republican” in the name is going to be what you think it is, as this report shows.
Below is an excerpt from the original article:
Some people have started to wonder whether that’s happened to groups in the conservative movement – and that’s understandable. Reports about sleazy activities by conservative groups have not exactly been in short supply over the last couple of years. Damaging stories have popped up on the Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Washington Post, the Politico and at the Daily Caller among other outlets. Additionally, for those of us who have a lot of friends in the Tea Party and among grassroots conservatives, stories of abuse have become rampant. That may be why you’ve heard people like Ann Coulter and Dana Loesch publicly suggesting that there are groups out there ripping people off. However, the problem with the articles that have come out so far is that most of them have come from liberal outlets and have only discussed limited aspects of a few organizations. That naturally led people to wonder if they were reading hit pieces. As to the rumors, there are always two sides to every story and it’s difficult to know how much weight to place on anecdotal stories.
So how many of these stories are true? Well, the numbers speak for themselves and what we’re seeing doesn’t look especially comforting.
This is what each organization we researched spent over the course of the 2014 cycle followed by how much each PAC gave to politicians either directly or through independent expenditures on their behalf. Then, last but not least, we have the percentage of their money they spent that actually went into independent expenditures & direct contributions.
*1 American Crossroads uses so many vendors who are either employees of the PAC or their surrogates that their real independent expenditure numbers are unverifiable in any meaningful sense.
*2 (Note: This section was edited after publication) The Senate Conservatives Fund thought it should get credit for money that was bundled and sent through its organization. Since bundled money is typically pass-through cash that is separate from independent expenditures and generally doesn’t reflect on how well a group is using the money it’s raised, we didn’t include that in the totals for any of the groups. That being said, the SCF may deserve more credit than most for the bundled money it raised because of a quirk in the FEC regulations. Long story short, the SCF reached out to people on its own email list and asked them to go back to its website and contribute to certain endorsed candidates. Because the SCF picked the candidates, that money doesn’t count as an independent expenditure. So, if a significant portion of the $4,712,667 it raised in bundled money came in that way, the SCF probably does deserve credit for it. If that bundled money had been added to its totals, that would have brought the numbers up to a more respectable 49% of the total spent, which would have put the SCF in 5th place overall. SCF also thought it deserves credit for non-candidate issue ad spending. We found $2,735,267 of that type of spending. However, since as a practical matter, issue ads are often just advertising for the group, we didn’t include those in its totals.
For the full story, click here.