Hide the Money

Bloomberg’s article on campaign spending in the Illinois Senate race stuck out to me as Chicago is my hometown and the midterms are not usually contested. We’re in the deep blue.  However, this particular senate race is a toss-up for many reasons, and it is of symbolic national importance because it was Obama’s old seat. The senatorial replacement since Obama became president was Burris, who during his time in the senate, managed to capture the lowest approval ratings of any member.

The election is important to the Republicans because, according to a government professor at Dartmouth, it constitutes “giving the President a black-eye”. The chance to turn Illinois red is not one that comes along every year. It is equally important to Democrats because Illinois is a traditional stronghold and the Party would be weak if it could not hold onto its historic allies.

Because of its national importance, the race is receiving national attention. Obama has taken sides and come back to Chicago to stump for Giannoulias and fundraise. However, national Republican support for Mark Kirk has drawn more negative attention in the Bloomberg article I am analyzing. With regards to spending, “The US Chamber of Commerce and Republican strategist Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS poured $6.2 million into the race for Obama’s former U.S.  Senate seat…they accounted for almost all of the $6.3 million spent on the contest by groups that aren’t required to disclose their donors, the most for any campaign nationwide.”

So, Bloomberg reporters have given us the exact number of “anonymous campaign money” and given us perspective on how that measures up to other races in the rest of the nation—“the most for any campaign nationwide”. Now what kind of meaning do they apply to this fact? Why does it matter to voters?

Bloomberg connects this race to others nationally, labeling the anonymous funding a trend.

“Groups that don’t disclose their donors spent $98 million to help Republicans between Sept. 1 and Oct. 27, compared with $5 million to aid Democrats.

“These outside groups are up to dominating the discourse in certain campaigns, but we have little idea why they’re doing it and no idea who their funders are,” said Dave Levinthal, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics…”

So what does this lack of transparency mean for voters? If they don’t know where the money’s coming from now and whether to trust a candidate during a campaign, Bloomberg seems to imply that things will only get worse financially if the candidate wins and takes office.



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