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:
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.