Report: Reclaiming Our Democracy

Outside Spending, Outsized Influence

Released by: Georgia PIRG Education Fund and PFAW Foundation

The 2012 elections were by far the most expensive in history thanks primarily to the tidal wave of outside, special interest money triggered by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The federal House races in Georgia, where outside groups spent nearly $3 million, were no exception.

Super PACs, the newly created groups that can raise and spend unlimited funds in elections, spent over $900,000 on Georgia federal elections. Nationwide, Super PACs raised 86% of funds from an elite set of ultra-wealthy donors and businesses giving $100,000 or more. Super PACs also received $101,749,662 from business corporations last year. Allowing special interests to fund attack ads on candidates distorts our democracy in an attempt to ensure that our elected officials put industry and out-of-state interests above the common good.

Dark money groups accounted for 67.43% of all outside spending in Georgia House races. These groups do not disclose the source of their funds, hiding critical information from voters about who is behind the advertising and what interests are backing which candidates.

Groups federally registered outside of Georgia accounted for 98.99% of all outside spending in Georgia House races. Out-of-state spenders are likely to put their own priorities ahead of the needs and interests of Georgians, thus skewing the relationships that Representatives have with their constituencies.

Read Billion-Dollar Democracy, our report on federal spending in the 2012 elections, here.

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