Federal Politics

Published — May 7, 2013 Updated — January 10, 2015 at 3:28 pm ET

Colbert Busch backed by D.C.-based groups

Sanford pummeled by Democratic super PAC, party organization

Introduction

Some support Republican Mark Sanford. Far more back Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

But the political groups that have together poured $1.1 million — 85 percent benefiting Colbert Busch — into South Carolina’s special congressional election are effectively uniform in where they’re from: Washington, D.C.

Only one of the 10 political action committees, super PACs, nonprofit groups or party committees that have urged voters to support or oppose Colbert Busch or Sanford is based in the Palmetto State, and it’s spent a pittance — just $20,000, a Center for Public Integrity analysis of federal spending disclosures through Monday indicates.

And of the more than 20 contractors and vendors these political powerhouses hired to produce television attack ads, print flyers or place telemarketing calls, all but one are located outside South Carolina. The others hail from seemingly everywhere but: North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio and California, among others, according to federal records.

So as many South Carolina voters hit the polls today to elect their newest 1st District congressional representative, they do so amid a torrent of out-of-state influence that’s increasingly commonplace following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which eliminated many restrictions on how outside political groups could raise and spend money to advocate for or against candidates.

Today’s deadheat special election, which features the state’s philandering former governor against comedian Stephen Colbert’s comparatively unknown sister, could foreshadow outside groups’ activities in regularly scheduled midterms in 2014.

Congressional races in even the sleepiest states or districts could attract unprecedented attention from moneyed national entities that have little inherent connection to locals and primarily care about picking up (or defending) a critical seat for their party or pressing a particular special interest, which in other contests might include guns or energy and environmental issues.

The D.C.-based Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has so far spent the most during the South Carolina special election, hitting Sanford with more than $458,000 in negative advertising. It has used Great American Media of D.C. and Adelstein | Liston LLC of Illinois to produce its ads, disclosures show.

Democratic super PAC House Majority PAC, meanwhile, has spent nearly $426,000 on broadcasts, direct mail and online ads denouncing Sanford. The super PAC, which is based in D.C., has exclusively used D.C.-based firms to do so: Waterfront Strategies, The Strategy Group, Ralston Lapp Media and Rising Tide Interactive.

Independent Women’s Voice, a conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofit group based in the nation’s capital, has proved to be Sanford’s strongest outside advocate, slamming Colbert Busch with more than $145,000 in broadcast ads, flyers and telephone calls, according to federal records.

Its contractors include Victory Media Group of Illinois, Antietam Communications of Georgia, Creative Associates LLC of Wisconsin and Kasey Kirby of Washington, D.C. And it’s particularly significant since the National Republican Congressional Committee, the DCCC’s GOP counterpart, decided against spending money in the race.

Other D.C.-based outside groups that have made independent expenditures leading up to today’s vote include FreedomWorks Inc. (pro-Sanford), Environmental Majority (pro-Colbert Busch), National Right to Life Political Action Committee (pro-Sanford), National Right to Life Victory Fund (pro-Sanford) and the Votevets.org Action Fund (pro-Colbert Busch).

The Columbia, S.C.-based South Forward IE PAC is the lone outside group not from D.C. to advertise for or against the candidates, spending about $20,200 on television and online ads, as well as door hangers, to oppose Sanford’s candidacy. Its contractors are all from outside of South Carolina.

The Amalgamated Transit Union used a South Carolina firm — Harbinger Publications — to produce its $5,000 worth of pro-Colbert Busch flyers, but the union itself is based in D.C.

It’s possible that outside political groups could spend close to, or as much as the candidates themselves during the race.

As of April 17, Colbert Busch had spent about $942,000, federal records show, while Sanford had spent about $626,000, including money he spent winning the GOP nomination. But Sanford entered the home stretch with slightly more cash on hand (more than $284,000) than Colbert Busch (more than $254,000).

The candidates’ spending figures will assuredly have increased by the time post-election disclosures are filed with the Federal Election Commission. Unlike outside political expenditures, which are filed in real time, candidates’ expenditures are not.

Read more in Federal Politics

Share this article

Join the conversation

Show Comments

11
Leave a Reply

avatar
9 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Mark Sullivan
Guest
Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
Guest
CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
Guest
George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
Guest
j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
Guest
jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
Guest
Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
Guest

hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
Guest
SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
Guest
Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
Guest
Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
Guest
South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
Guest
SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
Guest
David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.