Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Who's Paying For Those Political Ads?

Along with a bulk mail ad for the Hamblen County Republican seeking a seat in the state legislature, Don Miller, there was another ad mailer which called Miller's opponent, Larry Mullins, the Democratic candidate, a "democrat" who was to blame for all the ills of the nation. Gasp! Democrats!!! In East Tennessee??

This ad says it was paid for by a group called the Republican State Leadership Committee Inc.

Who are they and where does their funding come from? Not Hamblen County - the group is based in Alexandria, VA. They're backed by major Wall Street firms and PACs who seek to protect the status quo.

A web search via The Virginia Public Access Report lists some 8 pages of donors (none by individual names, just by the corporations which send them cash). Here's a sample from the first page, dating donations from 2009 to 2010:

$250,000 American Justice Partnership Washington, DC 06/26/2009
$175,000 American Justice Partnership Washington , DC 10/21/2009
$150,000 American Justice Partnership Washington , DC 09/22/2009
$150,000 American Justice Partnership Washington, DC 10/09/2009
$150,000 Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America Washington , DC 10/14/2009
$130,000 Reynolds American Winston Salem , NC 10/14/2009
$100,000 American Justice Partnership Washington, DC 09/25/2009
$100,000 Devon Energy Corporation Oklahoma City , OK 10/02/2009
$100,000 Living Essentials Novi, MI 08/11/2009
$80,000 Exxon Mobil Corporation Houston, TX 06/12/2009
$70,000 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation East Hanover , NJ 10/23/2009
$65,000 Monsanto Company St. Louis , MO 10/26/2009
$65,000 UST Public Affairs Inc. Stamford, CT 05/15/2009
$65,000 Verizon Folsom, CA 07/02/2009
$55,000 AT&T Services, Inc. Dallas, TX 01/16/2009
$55,000 General Electric Company Fort Myers, FL 05/29/2009
$50,000 Ace Cash Express, Inc. Irving, TX 08/14/2009
$50,000 AT&T Services, Inc. Dallas, TX 01/09/2009
$50,000 Edison Electric Institute Washington, DC 01/09/2009
$50,000 Entertainment Software Association Washington, DC 04/30/2009
$50,000 Hewlett Packard Colorado Springs, CO 08/14/2009
$50,000 ServiceMaster Memphis , TN 10/23/2009
$50,000 The Home Depot USA Atlanta, GA 04/17/2009
$45,000 Community Financial Services Association Alexandria 03/06/2009
$45,000 Intuit San Diego, CA 02/06/2009
$40,000 Allergan Inc. Austin, TX 02/27/2009
$40,000 Allstate Insurance Company Northbrook, IL 09/22/2009
$40,000 AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP Wilmington, DE 01/23/2009
$40,000 AT&T Services, Inc. Dallas, TX 02/13/2009
$40,000 eBay Inc. San Jose, CA 03/13/2009
$40,000 Fox Group Beverly Hills, CA 09/03/2009
$40,000 Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc. Abbeville, AL 05/21/2009
$40,000 Kraft Foods Global, Inc. Northfield, IL 07/24/2009
$40,000 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company Springfield, MA 08/21/2009
$40,000 National Restaurant Association Washington, DC 04/03/2009
$40,000 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation East Hanover, NJ 03/13/2009
$40,000 Pfizer Inc. New York, NY 03/26/2009
$40,000 Purdue Pharma L.P. Stamford , CT 10/15/2009
$40,000 Select Management resources LLC Operating Account Alpharetta, GA 04/03/2009
$40,000 State Farm Automobile Insurance Company Bloomington , IL 10/09/2009
$40,000 VISA U.S.A. Inc. San Francisco, CA 09/14/2009
$40,000 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Bentonville, AR 03/13/2009
$40,000 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Bentonville, AR 03/13/2009
$40,000 Yahoo! Inc. Sunnyvale, CA 09/14/2009
$35,000 ACLI Political Activity Fund Washington, DC 04/17/2009
$35,000 Best Buy Purchasing LLC Minneapolis, MN 07/02/2009
$35,000 Dominion Resources Services, Inc. Richmond 05/29/2009
$35,000 Pitney Bowes Inc. Stamford, CT 02/20/2009
$35,000 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Bentonville , AR 10/14/2009
$30,000 BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Columbia, SC 06/12/2009

Why so much money from out of state aimed at our small county? Because next year the state will be re-drawing political districts based on the most recent census, and more Republicans in the legislature will help create political districts. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The three main Republican groups that focus on state-wide races plan to spend more than $100 million on the November elections. That's about double the $44 million they spent on state races in 2006.

Groups supporting Democratic candidates in state races will spend about the same amount. The Democratic governors group and the state-legislative entity are on pace to spend a total of $62 million.

"The fortunes of Democratic state legislators are truly the firewall for Democrats this year," said Michael Sargeant, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee's executive director.

The Republican State Leadership Committee created the Redistricting Majority Project, whose sole purpose is "dedicated to keeping or winning Republican control of state legislatures that will have the most impact on Congressional redistricting in 2011." The group is on pace to raise and spend $40 million to help GOP candidates in state races.

The state races can be critical in determining control of Congress."

Here's Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander talking about campaign donations back in 1999 (via HuffPost):

I support campaign finance reform, but to me that means individual contributions, free speech and full disclosure," said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) declared, back in 1999. "In other words, any individual can give whatever they want as long as it is disclosed every day on the Internet. Otherwise, you restrict free speech and favor super-rich candidates -- candidates with famous names, the media and special interest groups, all of whom can spend unlimited money."


  1. Funny that all the TV networks were running Haitian fundraiser telethons the day the Citizens United case was decided in the Supreme Court. That will go down as the day the corporations took over our government.

  2. Novartis

    One of their primary functions is EMBRYONIC stem cell research.

    Read the Ron Ramsey part: