Under the Dome

Groups tally outside spending in North Carolina

Two public-interest organizations have analyzed outside election spending in North Carolina and 20 other states, and on Thursday released a report on their findings. The report is meant to draw attention to what it sees as a big problem: too much money is being spent by outside and secretive interests on federal campaigns.

The study found that super PACs spent about $4.1 million on North Carolina federal elections. What the report calls “dark money groups” – entities that don’t have to disclose where their money comes from – accounted for 22.71 percent of all outside spending in U.S. House races in North Carolina.

Groups that are registered outside of the state accounted for 90 percent of all outside spending in U.S. House races from this state. The organizations that did the study were People for the American Way Foundation and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited money to elect or defeat candidates. Nationwide, they raised 86 percent of their funds from donors and businesses giving $100,000 or more, according to the report.

The top five outside spenders in North Carolina campaigns for U.S. House were all conservative groups: YG Action Fund, $2,143,515; YG Network, $846,940; Club for Growth Action, $661,095; American Foundations Committee (formed to elect Rep. George Holding), $535,083; and the Congressional Leadership Fund, $520,030.

Much of the outside money was pour into Rep. Mike McIntyre’s close win over David Rouzer.

People for the American Way Foundation executive vice president Marge Baker said last year’s elections were the most expensive in history, due in part to the rise of super PACs.

“When big money floods our elections, it dwarfs the ability of individual Americans to have their voices heard,” Baker said in a statement released with the report.

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