Federal Politics

Published — October 19, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Daily Disclosure: Mystery group spends $1 million opposing Obama

‘Citizen Awareness Project’ based in Colorado

Introduction

Less than three weeks before Election Day, a new mystery group dropped nearly $1 million on an anti-Obama expenditure, according to records.

Citizen Awareness Project appears to be a nonprofit organization. It reported the independent expenditure opposing President Barack Obama Thursday, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission.

The entire sum — $994,000 — was paid to Stephen Clouse & Associates Inc., a Virginia firm that specializes in raising money for its clients via direct mail, according to its website.

The firm has produced marketing materials for the conservative Heritage Foundation and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, both of which count billionaire businessman and financier of conservative causes Charles Koch as a board member.

Citizen Awareness Project has no website that the Center could find and no Internal Revenue Service documents appear to have been posted online. Thursday’s filing was the first reported political expenditure made by the group.

The group is likely a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” nonprofit. Such organizations can function like super PACs but are not required to register with the FEC or disclose their donors. They are required to file reports with the IRS.

The group’s address is the same as Zakhem Law LLC in Denver, Colo., where its treasurer, Charlie Smith, is a law clerk specializing in election law.

Smith is former chairman of the College Republican National Committee and the founder of a lesser-known pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC, Solutions 2012, which raised $67,000. All of its contributions came from small donors.

Stephen Clouse & Associates works to “turn ordinary donors into major contributors,” according to its site, and focuses on getting donors to give “mega gifts” to its client-nonprofits.

Smith did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

In other outside spending news:

  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reported spending $7.5 million on ads opposing Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in 12 states.
  • Majority PAC, a super PAC backing Senate Democrats, reported spending $3.6 million opposing GOP candidates for U.S. Senate in Arizona, North Dakota, Montana, Connecticut, Virginia and Missouri.
  • Pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action reported spending $3.3 million on ads opposing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
  • Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative nonprofit founded by anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist, reported spending $3.1 million on ads opposing Democratic candidates for U.S. House in eight races.
  • The NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the advocacy nonprofit arm of the National Rifle Association, reported spending $702,000 on ads supporting Republican candidates for U.S. Senate and an additional $753,000 in support of Romney.
  • House Majority PAC, a super PAC backing House Democrats, reported spending $1.8 million opposing Republicans in seven races. The super PAC also released “Turn” opposing Republican Rep. Allen West, who is running in Florida’s 18th District.
  • Pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future reported spending $492,000 on ads opposing Obama.
  • The National Association of Realtors Political Action Committee reported spending $400,000 in favor of Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Pa. Fitzpatrick is on the government-sponsored entities subcommittee and the oversight and investigations subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, where he oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • The conservative 60 Plus Association released “Washington Insider,” which opposes Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released “Four Decades is Long Enough” opposing Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
  • Planned Parenthood Votes, a super PAC, released an ad opposing Romney and an ad supporting Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who is running for U.S. Senate.

Who paid for that political ad? You might be surprised by the answer. Email us and we will try to find out. Describe the advertisement — was it mean or nice? Will it affect your vote? When and where did it run and what were the names of the candidates? And PLEASE tell us what the disclaimer at the end says, and we will check it out.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Anonymous
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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
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Mark Sullivan

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

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

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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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
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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
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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
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David

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