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The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2009-10

October 31, 2011

Examines trends in the impact of special interest groups' spending on judicial elections, TV advertising, and implications such as threats of impeachment for unpopular decisions, attacks on merit selection systems, and danger to public election financing.

Lenders Couldn't Buy Laws

August 18, 2009

Examines the sources of contributions in support of and in opposition to 2008 ballot measures in Arizona and Ohio on allowing and limiting payday lending, respectively. Discusses the roles of out-of-state and individual donors.

Immigration Measures: Support On Both Sides Of The Fence

July 23, 2009

Immigration issues have inspired hot debates in recent years. This was true in 2008, as four states -- Florida, Missouri, Oregon and Arizona -- had immigrant-related measures on their ballots. Only Oregon and Arizona had committees relating to these ballot measures. Take a look at who supported and who opposed these measures.Fast FactsIn Arizona, committees concerned with a business-backed 2008 ballot measure that would have made changes to the state's laws regarding the hiring of illegal immigrants garnered $1,141,546, over $1 million of which was raised in support of the measure.The committee supporting Arizona's business-backed Proposition 202 in 2008 raised $22,492 from individuals, or 2.2 percent of its $1 million total. The committee opposing the measure raised $28,260 from individuals, or 20.1 percent of its $140,350 total.The committee supporting Arizona's Proposition 202 in 2008, which would have made various changes to the state's laws on the hiring of illegal immigrants, raised more than $1 million. $879,634 came from the General Business sector, mostly from a $802,634 sum from an organization of business leaders called Wake Up Arizona!

Donors Double Down In Gaming Debate

June 24, 2009

On the final day of the 2009 legislative session, Florida lawmakers passed a law to expand gambling in the state and offer a new gambling compact to the Seminole Tribe, overcoming a legislature which has "resist[ed] gambling expansion for decades." The bill was signed by Gov. Crist on June 15. Under the new agreement, the Seminole Tribe--which has been seeking state approval for Las Vegas-style slot machines for years--would gain the exclusive right to operate slot machines outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Fast Fact In 2009, Florida lawmakers passed gambling legislation offering a new deal to the Seminole Tribe. During the previous election, the Seminoles and related businesses gave $720,000, more than its combined giving during the past 10 years.

The Prairie State Heats Up

May 29, 2009

Home to the second largest coal reserves in the United States, Illinois is in a position to be the nation's leader in developing coal gasification projects. The Illinois Clean Coal Portfolio Standard Act, signed into law January 2009, sets the stage for Illinois to usher in one of the first state-backed efforts to develop these kinds of coal power facilities. Not surprising, the groups, companies and associations that stand to benefit from the Act are attempting to ensure that they have a say in how it is implemented.

Liquid Assets? Industry Raised The Bar to Resist Alcohol Taxes

May 6, 2009

States coping with the budget woes often raise taxes to help cover shortfalls. Frequently, "sin taxes" are among the first to face a potential increase. Businesses in the alcohol trade have responded with familiar tactics, contributing millions of dollars to state political campaigns all over the country.Fast FactsDuring the 2001-2007 period, California political parties and campaigns received $13 million from the alcohol industry, more than any other state. Illinois was second with $6.6 million.Many states are considering raising taxes on alcohol to help address budget issues. Over the last several years, the alcohol industry gave more than $34 million to winning candidates and to officials not up for election: the very people who decide the fate of legislation affecting alcohol tax levels.During the 2001-2007 time period, the alcohol industry gave $62.5 million to state political parties and campaigns. Anheuser-Busch and its affiliates led the pack, giving nearly $10 million.

High Court Contests: Competition, Controversy and Cash in Pennsylvania & Wisconsin

April 28, 2009

Fund raising for the 2007 and 2008 judicial elections in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin fell in line with the national trend of increasingly expensive judicial races. Highly competitive and contentious contests in both states resulted in significantly more spending than in previous elections.Fast FactsIn Wisconsin, the two female Supreme Court candidates in the general election raised $2.6 million in 2007, double the $1.3 million raised in the previous most-costly judicial race, which took place in 1999 when another two female candidates vied for one seat.In the 2007 Pennsylvania Supreme Court races, contributions from individuals accounted for 39 percent of the nearly $9.5 million raised by Supreme Court candidates in 2007. Attorneys made up the largest share (more than $1.3 million) of the money given by individuals.Two of the seven Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidates in 2007 were African-American; both raised less than the other five candidates and were soundly defeated in the Democratic primary.Wisconsin's first and only African-American Supreme Court justice lost his seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, despite the fact that he raised nearly one-fifth of the money raised by all other Wisconsin high court candidates in 2007 and 2008.

Buying Broadband a Boost: The Information Super Buy-Way?

March 30, 2009

The federal government and many state governments are making efforts to increase or improve access to broadband internet services. With this attention in the states, communication companies are spending millions of dollars on state campaigns and hiring thousands of state-level lobbyists.Fast FactsThe five communications companies in the report hired 2,609 lobbyists around the country. Again, AT&T and Verizon led the pack, with 1,373 and 868, respectively.The five communications companies this report gave almost evenly to Republican and Democratic candidates across the country. Republicans received $7.6 million and Democrats received $6.8 million. However, the companies gave $6 million to Republican party committees, almost twice the $3.5 million given to Democratic party committees.California received the most contributions from the five communications companies in the report, by far. Recipients in California got $8.2 million. Florida was second with $2.8 million.Of the five communications companies studied, AT&T and Verizon dominated the contributing, giving $14.9 million and $10.8 million respectively. Qwest, Embarq, and U.S. Cellular combined for an additional $2.4 million.

Give to Get? Financial Institutions That Made Hefty Campaign Contributions Score Big Bucks from the Government

March 19, 2009

The Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) was intended to stabilize the country's financial sector by distributing hundreds of billions of dollars. 300+ banks have received nearly $200 billion thus far. FollowTheMoney.org studied 75 institutions that received TARP funds. They contributed $20.4 million to state-level politics from 2000 to 2007: 62% went to statewide candidates; 27% to political parties; and 11% to ballot measure committees.Fast FactsIndividual donors employed by the financial institutions in this analysis contributed an additional $4.7 million to state-level political committees during the same period.Committees affiliated with the Republican Party received $11.1 million of the $18.1 million given to candidates and political parties. Committees affiliated with the Democratic Party received $7 million.Financial institutions that received TARP funds contributed $20.4 million to state-level political committees from 2000-2007. Candidate committees received the majority of the contributions ($12.6 million). Party committees received $5.5 million and ballot measure committees received $2.3 million.

Industries Storm States Over Climate Change

March 18, 2009

Examines 2003-07 contributions by the energy industry, manufacturers, and pro-business and environmental groups to state-level political campaigns. Analyzes data by contributor, recipient type, state, candidate's incumbency, party, and win-loss status.

An Apple From the Teachers: Teachers' Unions Give Lessons on Contributing at the State Level

March 3, 2009

From 2003 through 2007, teachers' unions gave $112.5 million to committees working on 88 ballot measures in 22 states. In addition, international unions NEA and AFT and their affiliates gave almost $53 million to political campaigns for state candidates and political party committees.Fast FactsIncumbent legislators received $21 million of the $29.7 million given to legislative candidate committees.Nearly 97 percent of the money given by teachers' unions came from the home state of that union.Teachers' unions made up only 1 percent of the more than $4 billion given to all candidates from all sources between 2003 and 2007.Teachers' union contributions represent a small percentage of all money given to candidates or political party committees.

Clean Elections, Arizona 2006

December 11, 2008

Public funding is often lauded for breaking the connection between campaign finances and special interests. Under the Arizona system, candidates who collect public funds receive very little private money and it must come from individuals. More than one-third of the 90 legislators elected in Arizona in 2006 participated in the state's Clean Elections program, as well as the governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state mine inspector, superintendent of public instruction, and one member of the corporation commission. This report analyzes money raised by Arizona candidates during the 2006 elections.Fast FactsArizona's legislative winners had the smallest fund raising advantage since 2000 over general-election losers.The 2006 election cycle was the first in which both major-party general-election candidates participated in Arizona's public funding program.