Filed Under: Politics

AOC, Cheney, others raise majority of campaign cash outside home states

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“And I approve this message.” Those five words will air on television and radio thousands of times leading up to November’s general election. But in many cases, candidates aren’t paying for those ads with money they raised from people they’re trying to represent.

A review of FEC filings by Straight Arrow News revealed some of the most talked about candidates raise an overwhelming majority of their campaigns’ financing from people outside their states.

Former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., knows all too well what it’s like needing to raise cash for a campaign after spending 30 years in Congress.

“It’s now a much more national circumstance than it used to be to run for the House and the Senate. And I wish that were not the case. But it is,” Dorgan said. “We just need to fix this because it is a sewer of discontent out there with massive quantities of money that are moving in different directions.”

Three prominent examples include: 

  • From January to March, 96% of the money donated to Rep. Liz Cheney’s, R-Wyo., campaign came from donors outside Wyoming. In fact, Wyoming was eighth on her list; California, Virginia and Texas rounded out the top three. 
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., raised 80% of her 2020 contributions from outside New York. Again, California residents were the biggest contributors, giving over $1 million.
  • Beto O’Rourke hauled in more than $18 million from donors outside Texas when he ran for Senate against Ted Cruz.

“It has changed dramatically. The Supreme Court, in Citizens United, made a decision that profoundly changed fundraising generally. That means that almost anybody can give any amount of money without any disclosure,” Dorgan said.

In the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision, the Supreme Court ruled corporations and nonprofits have a right to make political expenditures under the First Amendment. But Dorgan believes that ruling has led to even greater spending through Super PACs, social welfare organizations, and individual contributions.

In addition, online fundraising platforms like WinRed and Act Blue allow money to flow in from around the country.

“That really opens up the floodgates to small-dollar contributions from all over the country. And that’s not a legal change, that’s a technological one,” Andrew Mayersohn, committees researcher at Open Secrets said.

Dorgan described the consequences of money in politics as “devastating” and a “disaster”.

“I mean, these are, unfortunately, political auctions to the highest bidders. And it has a profound impact on how the United States Congress, both the House and the Senate behave and how they vote,” Dorgan said. 

“I really support and hope that you’ll vote with me for Liz Cheney.” 

Ads like these will become ubiquitous as we head toward November.

Occasio-Cortez: And that’s why I’m asking for your vote. 

They’re played by politicians to constituents inside their district. 

O’Rourke: And we’re going to do them right here in the state of Texas. 

But a review of FEC filings by Straight Arrow News revealed some of the most talked about candidates raise an overwhelming majority of their campaign’s financing from people outside their state.

Former Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan knows all too well what it’s like needing to raise cash for a campaign after spending 30 years in Congress. 

Byron Dorgan: it’s now a much more national circumstance than it used to be to run for the House and the Senate. And I wish that were not the case. But it is. And there needs to be, you know, we just need to fix this because it is a sewer of discontent out there. With massive quantities of money that are moving in different directions.

Here are three examples. 

From January to March, 96 percent of the money donated to Liz Cheney’s campaign came from donors outside Wyoming. In fact, Wyoming was eighth on her list. California, Virginia and Texas rounded out the top three. 

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez raised 80 percent of her 2020 contributions from outside New York. Again, California residents were the biggest contributors, giving over one million dollars. 

Beto O’Rourke hauled in more than 18 million dollars from donors outside Texas when he ran for Senate against Ted Cruz. 

Ray Bogan: Has it always been this way?

Byron Dorgan: No, no, it has changed dramatically. The Supreme Court, in Citizens United made a decision that profoundly changed fundraising generally. That means that almost anybody can give any amount of money without any disclosure. 

In the 2010 Citizens United v. the FEC decision, the Supreme Court ruled corporations and nonprofits have a right to make political expenditures under the first amendment. 

But Dorgan believes that ruling has led to even greater spending through Super Pacs, social welfare organizations, and individual contributions.  

In addition, online fundraising platforms like WinRed and Act Blue allow money to flow in from around the country.

Ray: What are the consequences of money in politics?

Senator Dorgan: It’s devastating. It’s a disaster. I mean, these are, unfortunately, political auctions to the highest bidders. And it has a profound impact on how the United States Congress, both the both the House and the Senate behave and how they vote.

“And I approve this message.” Those five words will air on television and radio thousands of times leading up to November’s general election. But in many cases, candidates aren’t paying for those ads with money they raised from people they’re trying to represent.

A review of FEC filings by Straight Arrow News revealed some of the most talked about candidates raise an overwhelming majority of their campaigns’ financing from people outside their states.

Former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., knows all too well what it’s like needing to raise cash for a campaign after spending 30 years in Congress.

“It’s now a much more national circumstance than it used to be to run for the House and the Senate. And I wish that were not the case. But it is,” Dorgan said. “We just need to fix this because it is a sewer of discontent out there with massive quantities of money that are moving in different directions.”

Three prominent examples include: 

  • From January to March, 96% of the money donated to Rep. Liz Cheney’s, R-Wyo., campaign came from donors outside Wyoming. In fact, Wyoming was eighth on her list; California, Virginia and Texas rounded out the top three. 
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., raised 80% of her 2020 contributions from outside New York. Again, California residents were the biggest contributors, giving over $1 million.
  • Beto O’Rourke hauled in more than $18 million from donors outside Texas when he ran for Senate against Ted Cruz.

“It has changed dramatically. The Supreme Court, in Citizens United, made a decision that profoundly changed fundraising generally. That means that almost anybody can give any amount of money without any disclosure,” Dorgan said.

In the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision, the Supreme Court ruled corporations and nonprofits have a right to make political expenditures under the First Amendment. But Dorgan believes that ruling has led to even greater spending through Super PACs, social welfare organizations, and individual contributions.

In addition, online fundraising platforms like WinRed and Act Blue allow money to flow in from around the country.

“That really opens up the floodgates to small-dollar contributions from all over the country. And that’s not a legal change, that’s a technological one,” Andrew Mayersohn, committees researcher at Open Secrets said.

Dorgan described the consequences of money in politics as “devastating” and a “disaster”.

“I mean, these are, unfortunately, political auctions to the highest bidders. And it has a profound impact on how the United States Congress, both the House and the Senate behave and how they vote,” Dorgan said. 

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