Dome: Report puts total super PAC spending at $4.1 million in NC

FROM STAFF REPORTSJanuary 17, 2013 

Two public-interest organizations have analyzed outside election spending in North Carolina and 20 other states, and on Thursday released a report on their findings. The report is meant to draw attention to what the groups see as a big problem: Too much money is being spent by outside and secretive interests on federal campaigns.

The study found that super PACs spent about $4.1 million on North Carolina federal elections. What the report calls “dark money groups” – entities that don’t have to disclose where their money comes from – accounted for 22.71 percent of all outside spending in U.S. House races in North Carolina.

Groups that are registered outside the state accounted for 90 percent of all outside spending in U.S. House races from this state. The organizations that did the study were People for the American Way Foundation and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited money to elect or defeat candidates. Nationwide, they raised 86 percent of their funds from donors and businesses giving $100,000 or more, according to the report.

The top five outside spenders in North Carolina campaigns for U.S. House were all conservative groups: YG Action Fund, $2,143,515; YG Network, $846,940; Club for Growth Action, $661,095; American Foundations Committee (formed to elect Rep. George Holding), $535,083; and the Congressional Leadership Fund, $520,030.

Much of the outside money was poured into Rep. Mike McIntyre’s close win over David Rouzer.

People for the American Way Foundation executive vice president Marge Baker said last year’s elections were the most expensive in history, in part because of the rise of super PACs.

“When big money floods our elections, it dwarfs the ability of individual Americans to have their voices heard,” Baker said in a statement released with the report.

Butterfield tapped for panel

Democratic U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield of Wilson has been appointed to a seat on the influential House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, where he says he wants to protect the Affordable Care Act.

The subcommittee will give him jurisdiction over such issues as Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance, public health, hospital construction, health information technology, privacy, cyber security, medical malpractice and drug abuse.

“My chief responsibility as a new member of the Health Subcommittee is to protect and defend the Affordable Care Act against Republicans’ flagrant efforts to dismantle it,” Butterfield said in a statement.

“I played a leading role in the development of this landmark law that has given millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans access to affordable healthcare,” he said.

Dem forum set for Saturday

The two candidates for state Democratic Party chairman will debate Saturday in Raleigh and outline their plans for leading the party.

Former state Sen. Eric Mansfield of Fayetteville and Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller will meet at a forum at 1:30 p.m. at Mount Peace Baptist Church, located at 1601 Martin Luther King Drive. The event will be live streamed at www.plaintalkpolitics.com and will be available on YouTube after the debate.

Staff writers Rob Christensen and Craig Jarvis

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