Outside groups are spending more money on campaign ads

Jul 28, 2014

Credit 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

A recent report shows that for every dollar spent by a Michigan candidate in campaign ads, outside groups have spent $3.50. Another way to look at it: of the $18 million spent on TV campaign ads in the first half of this year, outside groups contributed $14 million.

What are the consequences of outside money in Michigan political campaigns, and who are these groups?

To answer those questions, Rich Robinson and Todd Spangler joined Lester Graham on Stateside. Robinson is the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.  Spangler is a correspondent with the Detroit Free Press.

Robinson said on the “attack Gary Peters” side, the groups are Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity. On the “attack Terri Lynn Land” side is the Senate Majority PAC.

Spangler said it's important to know whether interest groups are trying to shield their donations from public view by channeling money through various PACs.

Spangler said there could be as much as $2 billion spent on these ad nationwide.

As for Michigan, Robinson says this election cycle so far outpaces previous cycles.

“As far as what state candidates raised so far, not necessarily spent it all so far, it’s way ahead of the last couple of election cycles,” Robinson said.

“The gubernatorial, I’m going to guess, is going to end up somewhere around $40 million,” Robinson said. “The (U.S.) Senatorial campaign could hit that, could go higher, because I think there is more interest from outside groups.”

He said voters should be concerned about the amount of outside cash flooding the airwaves. 

“People don’t do the kind of involvement they are playing out in theses campaigns for selfless reasons,” Robinson said. “They have a policy agenda, they want to see some sort of reciprocity for what they are doing.”

*Listen to the full story above.