Super PAC donations are anonymous

Shadow money in the US election campaign

At US $ 2 billion, there has never been more money spent on an election campaign, and a growing proportion is anonymous

The US presidential campaign has long been a money battle - and it is devouring more and more money. All records are being broken again this year, especially after the Supreme Court in 2010 allowed individuals and companies or associations to make donations to Political Action Committees (PACs) - and unlimited amounts, if it is not for direct support of a candidate or a party but about canvassing, asking citizens to vote for or against a candidate. In addition, the donors can often hide.

Campaign donations for the Obama and Romney campaigns have already reached a record high. Together they are - as of October 26 - at more than 2 billion US dollars, Obama with 1.08 billion is a little behind Romney with 1.13 billion. With 887 million, Obama has already missed more than Romney, who only spent 777 million. That's just the money that donors need to be named to the Federal Election Commission.

In the Super PACs, where companies or individuals can donate any amount, the Republicans and Romney are well ahead of the Democrats and Obama with 75 million with $ 203 million. If you only take those who have put more than 2 million into a Super PAC, it stands 10: 6 for Romney. At the forefront are Romney donors Bob Perry with more than 17 million (contractors) and multi-billionaires Sheldon & Miriam Adelson with 10 million (casino operator), Robert Rowling with more than 5 million (holding company), William Koch with 4 million (Koch Industries) and Joe Craft with almost 4 million coal). Most of their money went into the Super PAC "Restore our Future", which unadornedly puts the interests of the entrepreneurs and the rich in the foreground.

The media entrepreneur Fred Eychaner donated the most to Obama with 3.7 million, followed by hedge fund manager and billionaire James Simons (3.5) and film producer Jeffrey Katzenberger (3.0). The supporters of Obama put a lot of money into the Super PAC "Priorities USA Action", which advocates "progressive" politics. This is followed by hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin, who has again donated 2.5 million to pro-Republican PACs.

The largest single donations to Barack Obama are University of California (1.079 million), Microsoft Corp (761,343), Google (737,055), US Government (614,665), and Harvard University (602,992), while the largest single donors to Romney Goldman Sachs (994,139), Bank of America (921,839), Morgan Stanley (827,255), JPMorgan Chase & Co (792,147) and Credit Suisse Group (618,941) are. You could say knowledge economy versus financial sector.

There are rich people on both sides. But if you just observe that Wall Street, which favored Obama in 2008, has clearly turned to Romney, while Goldman Sachs, the second largest donor, hardly spends any more money on Obama in 2008, then it becomes clear where the wind is blowing. And because the accusations against Romney and the Republicans are that they primarily serve the richest one percent, more and more conservative donors are now also using the opportunity to evade transparency, so that before the elections it is not possible to see who is doing it Funds come.

The independent Center for Responsive Politics, which tries to explain the financial flows in US politics as meticulously as possible, calls the anonymous donations "shadow money". Large donors must be presented to the tax office, but the data cannot be viewed by the public.

Every dollar that you contribute to Crossroads GPS will enable us to get critical information out to everyday American citizens and mobilize them to speak out on the issues that will shape our nation's future for years to come.If we want to stop Washington's deficit-financed spending spree, stop the assault on our health care and prevent the government from imposing job-destroying new taxes and regulations, it's going to be up to us to get the job done.

Crossroads GPS

Last week, the relevant groups or Super PACs such as Crossroads GPS, founded by Karl Rove and with the slogan: "freedom, limited government, low taxes and individual responsibility", Americans for prosperity or patriot majority, whose names already reflect the right-wing national and pro-capitalist orientation make it clear that the threshold of 200 million donations has been exceeded. 88 percent of the money went to advertising campaigns targeting a politician, of which 83 percent was directed against the Democrats. And nearly three-quarters of the money that went into ads for candidates went to Republican campaigns. But the 200 million is only part of the shadow money. "It is the money that was put into election campaigns in the weeks leading up to the election and the amount, not the donors, must be reported to the Federal Election Commission. Before that, so that Center for Responsive Politics, millions of US dollars may already have flowed that did not have to be registered, i.e. remain completely in the dark.

It is interesting that these are clearly anti-Obama campaigns, but not necessarily pro-Romney campaigns. 74 million went in campaign ads against Obama, only 1.1 million were used in his support, while 8.8 million were used for Romney, but only 5.1 million were used against him. The situation is similarly one-sided with Democratic Congress candidates, primarily for those who want to get a seat in the Senate. While the Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives, the Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate. For example, with more than 11 million anonymous donations, the former governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, who is now a candidate for the Senate, was fought against, while advertisements spent only $ 11,000 on him. Of the 20 groups that raised and spent the most money on advertisements for or against a candidate, 16 are pro-Republican and 91 percent were spent by conservative groups.

However, Hurricane Sandy, which hits the east coast, could now render the entire flow of money ineffective. Depending on the damage and the success or failure of the authorities, this could benefit Obama (more because he can demonstrate "leadership") or Romney. The catastrophe effect is also known in Germany; it is said to have at least helped the green-red government under Schröder to win again in the federal elections in 2002. (Florian Rötzer)

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