Independent Expenditures: A Hidden Force in State Elections

Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics, August 1, 2007

From press release:
Political expenditures made from outside official campaigns amounted to more than $115 million in just five states, a new study found, evidence of how powerful so-called independent expenditures are becoming in state politics. Compiling a comprehensive total of such expenditures for all 50 states is virtually impossible, a companion report notes, because of inadequate reporting requirements in most states.

While 39 states require some form of disclosure for individuals or groups making these expenditures in state elections, only Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine and Washington disclose the information in a way that the public can easily access and use, the National Institute on Money in State Politics discovered.

The first report, “Independent Expenditures, 2006” investigates spending on independent expenditures in the five states where data was readily obtainable, while “Indecent Disclosure” discusses problems with obtaining meaningful data on independent expenditures from the various state disclosure agencies. Taken together, the reports reveal the extensive impact of independent expenditures on the political process and the patchwork nature of disclosure laws regulating independent expenditures in the states.

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