12 Donors, 12 Years

by - October 14, 2014

After McCain-Feingold, donors began to direct large checks to so-called 527 groups that could accept unlimited funds from individuals to spend on voter initiatives and advertising as long as they didn’t directly advocate for a candidate. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that political groups could also accept unlimited money from corporations and unions; "super PACs," which are able to advocate for votes, effectively replaced federal 527s. Meanwhile, four of the top 12 donors got there in part through aggressive spending on ballot initiatives in California. In some cases, the bulk of a donor’s money went toward a losing cause: a failed initiative or a candidate who fell short. But in others, the largess could have tipped the scales of an election. When asked in 2012 whether he regretted spending so much on a voter measure, Tom Steyer replied: "W"hat was it they say in ‘The Untouchables’? Don’t take a knife to a gunfight."

Source: 12 Donors, 12 Years - NYTimes.com

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