A special-interest spending spree

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Feb 6, 2008


Scott Jagow: In the presidential election eight years ago, special-interest groups spent $1 million for the entire primary season… A million dollars. This year, already, they’ve spent $14 million.

And now that we’ve come out of Super Tuesday with the nominations still in doubt, those groups will be spending even more. Nancy Marshall Genzer has this report.

Nancy Marshall Genzer: We’re talking about wealthy individuals, unions and business groups. There’s an organization called Trust Huckabee. The Wall Street Journal reports this group claims it spent $167,000 so far. Two others in California spent more than $300,000 for Barack Obama.

These special interest groups can take money from anybody — in most cases, they don’t have to identify their donors. There are no limits on how much cash they can rake in.

And campaign finance watchdog Fred Worthheimer says the federal government isn’t likely to review the spending until after the presidential election.

Fred Worthheimer: It is a potential problem. Particularly since, in 2004, the Federal Election Commission found after that election that a number of groups were spending money illegally.

And Worthheimer points out these groups haven’t started their serious spending. They’re saving most of their money for the general election.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.