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Running Numbers

I've been kicking around a piece on Barack Obama's choice to reject public funding for the general election. One of the reasons he said he was doing so was because he wanted to be able to answer the charges from right-wing 527 groups that would inevitably come forward.

That got me thinking. Four years ago, I did a very shallow look at the 527 groups, and at that time, the liberal ones vastly outnumbered, outraised, and outspent the conservative ones. But the only one that really stuck in people's minds were the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, who managed to influence the election in far greater proportion to the money they raised. (I happen to think that it's a simple matter of marketing; when you have a superior product -- in their case, the truth -- it costs less to get the word around.)

So, at the point I made my little study last time, when looking at just the top 25 527s in terms of money raised, liberal-leaning groups had pulled in roughly $17.00 for each $1.00 that conservative-leaning ones had raised. Had things changed so drastically in the last four years?

Yup. Now the liberals only have a $4.50 to $1.00 advantage over the conservatives.

I took the numbers from here and ran them through a spreadsheet:

But some statistics and facts that jumped out at me:

1) Liberal groups make up 17 of the top 25, conservatives only six. (The remaining two -- Unity 08 and the American Dental Association -- are considered "neutral.")

2) Seven of the top ten are liberal, including all of the top five.

3) The top two liberal groups alone have raised roughly $10 million more than all of the conservative groups in the top 25.

4) Both personally and through his Management Fund, George Soros has given over $9 million to 527s -- about $2 million than the biggest single conservative group has managed to raise.

5) Seven of the top 25 groups are unions.

So, why does Obama fear such a statistically insignificant portion of the 527 groups? Why does he worry about a group when over 75% of their resources will, in all likelihood, be dedicated to helping him?

I suspect he's remembering the lesson John Kerry learned from the Swift Boat Veterans: if you're trying to counteract the truth, you have to seriously outspend the truth-tellers. Lies, smears, fabrications, and deception are a hell of a lot more expensive.


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Comments (16)

JayGood post. ... (Below threshold)


Good post.

I agree with your conclusion that Obama is smart to focus on the conservative 527's in spite of a significant spending edge.

I wonder how effective that liberal 527 fund raising would be without payroll withholding of union dues? Probably as effective as our tax collection system without payroll tax withholding.

Is George Soros a crapbag o... (Below threshold)

Is George Soros a crapbag or what?!!
I am soo sick of this anti-American f'head interfering in American business.

Wow, still defending Swift ... (Below threshold)

Wow, still defending Swift Boating! Again, you can tell when someone knows they are wrong when they repeatedly defend the same choice over and over again as if at some point wrong becomes right. (See Jay on Iraq) Also, any decent news source has torn the S.Boaters to shreds...but facts never get in the way of some 3rd tier bloggers.

And why are they not considered neutral, Jay? If they are just speaking the truth, your analysis needs some reworking.

jp2, kindly cite a few sour... (Below threshold)

jp2, kindly cite a few sources showing where the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth were "torn to shreds." Last time I checked, every single one of their allegations put to the test was proven accurate -- my favorite example was Kerry's "Christmas in Cambodia" fantasy.

Also, your second paragraph is somewhat incoherent. I was talking about the current top 25 527s, and the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth didn't make the cut. I used Open Secrets' own determinations for most of the rankings, but I'll admit I didn't check each and every one. The ones with "Republican" in their name I called "conservative" without checking, all union ones "liberal," and decided that Unity '08 was "neutral" after doing a little digging on them.

If you're referring to their status in 2004, I called them "conservative" because that was the net effect of their actions -- to speak out against the Democratic candidate.

Hmm... now that you mention it, I didn't see MoveOn.org on that list. I wonder where they stand...


"Last time I checked, every... (Below threshold)

"Last time I checked, every single one of their allegations put to the test was proven accurate"

Yikes! I wonder what sources you "checked." You probably need new ones.


Let that swirl around a bit. The Post, LA Times and NYT all ran similar stories debunking these clowns, weird that you missed them. Not sure what sources pass your smell test anyways.

SBoat Liars actually describe themselves as "non-partisan" by the way...

Yikes! I wonder what sou... (Below threshold)

Yikes! I wonder what sources you "checked." You probably need new ones.


It is particulary amusing to me when a lefty cites the good ol' "FactCheck" article as the Rosetta Stone of Swiftvet debunking.

Apparently most terminate their reading and comprehension at some point prior to the last line...

At this point, 35 years later and half a world away, we see no way to resolve which of these versions of reality is closer to the truth.

Yessir, that's SOME debunking.

There is no possible way an... (Below threshold)

There is no possible way any intelligent person could read that article and determine that "every single one of their allegations put to the test was proven accurate."

No. possible. way.

(Please note the word intelligent before answering)

jp2, I said "put to the tes... (Below threshold)

jp2, I said "put to the test." As in, factual evidence (not disagreements in eyewitness testimony) was presented.

Kerry said he spent Christmas 1968 in Cambodian waters, listening to President Nixon promise there were no troops in Cambodia.

The Swift Boat Veterans said that was complete and utter bullshit -- for one, Richard Nixon wasn't president in 1968; he took the oath of office in January 1969.

Kerry had to withdraw that statement.

As for the rest... Bingo said it best. YOUR OWN SOURCE admits it can't prove anything one way or another. But on actual, tested, verifiable claims, the Swift Boat Veterans trump Kerry.


First of all, why would you... (Below threshold)

First of all, why would you believe any Republican operated attack group? Isn't that the definition of lying? From Al Gore inventing the internet, to John McCain having an illegitimate black child to Obama being a sleeper cell Muslim...the right wing lives off of lies.

Anyways, if that ample source didn't knock any of the dissonance out of your noggin, here are some more. This first one is about a recent lie, just because it's interesting.





You really stand by the statement "Last time I checked, every single one of their allegations put to the test was proven accurate?"

Because the factcheck article mentioned several lies, and so do these new ones I posted.

jp2, I'm wondering when you... (Below threshold)

jp2, I'm wondering when you'll start all caps posting...you remind me of the wild eyed freak, screaming into a bull horn, Zombie had a photo of, in one of his(her)reports from San Fran, a few months back. When you can't defend or refute a point, just scream louder. BTW, I wipe my ass with the NY Times.

Jay,I think American... (Below threshold)

I think American Solutions for Winning the Future is technically neutral. They claim bi-partisanship, and Newt Gingrich is the chairman.

jp2, so you're saying that ... (Below threshold)

jp2, so you're saying that "Republican operated attack group" equals 100% lies? Well, then, aren't we fortunate that almost 80% of the funding going to "attack groups" is supporting the Democrats, and they would NEVER lie?

That was the crux of my piece, which you are so diligently trying to deflect from -- that the vast majority of 527s are in the Democrats' camp (both by numbers and money), but that FACT is being hidden by decrying the actions of one single group from four years ago that was far, far more effective than in proportion to its financing.

If you can pry your head out of your ass, LOOK at those numbers, and LOOK at those organizations. Unions alone have spent over $22 million dollars of their members' dues on these 527s.

That's the real point here, despite your petty attempts at diversions.


JT, I would never try to as... (Below threshold)

JT, I would never try to ask a liberal to stay focused on the post, they simply cannot do that. JP2 and JFO and some others find it too much. ww

The Swifties have never bee... (Below threshold)

The Swifties have never been successfully rebutted. Their name remains as a perjorative in the modern political vernacular because they gored a liberal cow ( heh, I could have fun with a word puzzle of that phrase).

I suspect one reason why li... (Below threshold)

I suspect one reason why liberals dominate 527 fund-raising is that not very many conservatives want to set up an organization to advance GOP ideas or candidates only to have McCain come in later on and kick them in the nuts.

This is turning out to be some election. On the one hand, there's a socialist in everything but name, and on the other, an aging pit bull with mental problems.

Maybe I should stay home on election day and drink heavily.

are joke tree minor tree ap... (Below threshold)

are joke tree minor tree apple cube free






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