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Campaign Finance

Adelson spends big on Virginia U.S. Senate race

Rachael Marcus Oct 25, 2012

Big outside money is pouring into the race for U.S. Senate in Virginia, and for one super PAC, “outside” means from across the country. Independence Virginia, a super PAC supporting former U.S. Senator and Gov. George Allen, the Republican candidate, reported Wednesday spending $1.5 million on ads opposing the Democratic candidate, former Gov. Tim Kaine.

Two weeks ago, casino magnate and super donor Sheldon Adelson, who lives in Las Vegas, gave Independence Virginia $1.5 million, according to the super PAC’s most recent donor disclosure report to the Federal Election Commission. Adelson and has family have topped $40 million in giving to conservative super PACs this election, making them No. 1.

But Adelson’s Las Vegas money isn’t the only contribution to have traveled a long way to Virginia. Texas homebuilder Bob Perry, another top super PAC donor, gave $1 million to Independence Virginia in August and September, which was just disclosed last week. Perry, who has given $20.5 million to conservative super PACs this election, is the third-biggest super PAC donor. Wyoming investor Foster Friess, another prolific donor, gave the group $10,000. Independence Virginia has spent $3.9 million this election, entirely on anti-Kaine ads.

The race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Jim Webb has attracted more money than any other outside spending race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics — $33 million, not counting Wednesday’s Independence Virginia ad buys. The conservative nonprofit Crossroads GPS has reported spending $8 million backing Allen, making it the top outside spender in the race. Majority PAC, a super PAC supporting Senate Democrats, is in second place with $5 million, according to CRP.


In other outside spending news:

  • Conservative super PAC American Crossroads reported spending $11.3 million on ads supporting Romney and opposing Obama. It released three anti-Obama ads: “Bow,” “At Stake” and “Survive.” “At Stake” stars actor Clint Eastwood, who famously talked to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention.

  • Its sister nonprofit Crossroads GPS reported spending $3.3 million on pro-Romney/anti-Obama ads and an additional $1.1 million on ads opposing Rep. Joe Donnelly, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Indiana.

  • The conservative nonprofit Americans for Job Security reported spending $2.5 million opposing Obama.

  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported spending $9.4 million opposing Republican candidates for U.S. House.

  • The conservative nonprofit American Action Network reported spending $925,000 opposing Democrats in three U.S. House races. A full $628,000 was dedicated to ads opposing former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez, the Democratic candidate in California’s 10th District.

  • Majority PAC, a super PAC supporting Senate Democrats, reported spending $3 million opposing Republican candidates in Virginia, North Dakota, Montana and Wisconsin.

  • House Majority PAC, a super PAC backing House Democrats, reported spending $2.6 million opposing Republicans in numerous House races. It released “About Values,” opposing Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., on Wednesday.

  • Planned Parenthood Votes released an ad opposing Rep. Denny Rehberg, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Montana.

  • FreedomWorks for America, a conservative nonprofit, released 11 news ads: seven oppose Obama and Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Arizona, and four support the Republican candidates in several of those races.

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