Silent Partners

Published — November 3, 2004 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

GOP 527s outspend Dems in late ad blitz

Progress for America and Swift Boats dominated airwaves in swing states


Section 527 organizations supporting President Bush spent nearly $30 million on broadcast ads in the final three weeks of the election — from Oct. 13 through Election Day — triple the amount spent by similar groups supporting Sen. John Kerry.

This late surge in advertising was led by two anti-Kerry or pro-Bush groups — Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth and Progress for America Voter Fund — which together spent $23 million. Much of their money went to key battleground states including Ohio, which received at least $6.6 million in advertising expenditures and ultimately won Bush the election.

In addition to Ohio, these Republican-based 527s spent significant sums in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Progress for America Voter Fund was the largest of these groups, spending $16.7 million during the last three weeks of the election — $6.5 million more on advertising than all the Democratic 527s put together.

These figures only represent funds spent directly on broadcast advertising, and do not include money used for other election-related activities. The totals are derived from filings with the Federal Election Commission. The FEC requires 527 groups to submit detailed accounting of television and radio ads during the final 60 days before a general election when those ads mention a federal candidate.

Read more in Money and Democracy

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