December 3, 2010- Outside groups spent nearly $18 million on Michigan’s most competitive congressional races this year – nearly $6 million more than that spent by the candidates themselves.
The Lansing-based Michigan Campaign Finance Network issued its findings today after looking at Federal Election Commission records as well as data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington. It also consulted its own records on spending by some shadow advocacy organizations, including the conservative Americans for Prosperity, which has been linked to industrialist David Koch.
“It’s quite clear what the Citizens United decision has unleashed,” said MCFN’s Rich Robinson, referring to the Supreme Court decision this year which allowed for unlimited independent spending by corporations. “Going forward, competitive races will belong to the parties and interest groups, not the candidates.”
The race in south-central Michigan’s 7th congressional district attracted more outside money than any other U.S. House race in the country, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ tally at opensecrets.org. Adding to that total unreported spending recorded by the MCFN, more than $9 million was spent by outside groups on the race in which former U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, a Tipton Republican, beat the man who defeated him two years earlier, U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, a Battle Creek Democrat.
More than $4.7 million was spent on Schauer’s behalf (or against Walberg), including nearly $1.5 million by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union. Nearly $4.5 million was spent on Walberg’s behalf (or against Schauer) – almost $3 million of which came from the combined total spent by the National Republican Congressional Committee and the state Republican Party.