Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reason #263.5: Redistribution

I'm taking the week quasi-off in honor of Election Day, but I did want to follow up briefly on Reason #258 from a few weeks ago. For all the fretting over Citizens United in the last couple years, and for all its brazen trampling of election law, what did it actually accomplish on Tuesday?

  • Foster Friess - Friess Association - $2.5 million
  • John Joe Rickettts - Hugo Enterprises - $13 million
  • Robert Perry - Perry Homes - $21.5 million
  • Harold & Annette Simmons - Contran - $24 million
  • Sheldon Adelson - Las Vegas Sands - $53 million

That's just a small sampling of some of the top conservative donors in this election. For the record, Republican bogeyman George Soros tied with Foster Friess at around $2.5 million, coming in a little under Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenburg's $3 million, while the top liberal donor was one Fred Eyechaner, of Newsweb, at $12 million. For better or worse, that money is now gone--the PACs and campaigns still undoubtedly have some of it, maybe even a fair amount of it, floating around, but those individuals will never get it back.

So what did they get for their money?

  • American Crossroads (Karl Rove) - 1.29% successful
  • Crossroads GPS (also Karl) - 14.4% successful
  • American Future Fund - 5.57% successful
  • Restore our Future - 0% successful

Note that while both Crossroads groups and AFF put some money into opposing down-ticket candidates who did end up losing, they didn't support a single winning candidate. ROF only spent money on the presidential race--about $118 million--and thus accomplished absolutely nothing.

The majority of Sheldon Adelson's money famously went to Newt Gingrich, who lost in the primaries, and Mitt Romney, who lost the election. He less-famously backed seven other down-ticket candidates, each of whom lost their own races, meaning Adelson personally earned a 0% return on his investment. Not that he can't afford it.

Altogether, even ignoring the other races, $386 million was spent specifically on either Pro-Romney or Anti-Obama causes. With absolutely nothing to show for it, that's more than a third of a billion dollars in conservative money gone forever.

Or as I like to think of it, redistributed.

Further Reading

2012 Top Donors to Outside Spending Groups

Outside spenders' return on investment

First Thoughts: Back to work

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