NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 2, 2012

Outside groups spent $3.5M to boost Tisei campaign

Tierney backers spent $1.6 million

(Continued)

“The resources were there for both candidates during the summer,” Moore said, “but the way John Tierney handled himself this summer you saw an erosion in his support.”

Robison strongly disagreed with the notion that Democratic support has eroded. The difference, he said, is that Republican groups have a lot more money to spend.

“As you can see in the (Federal Election Commission) reports, Democrats are willing and very clearly support John Tierney,” Robison said. “The issue here is the amount of money coming in from corporations and billionaires to right-wing Republicans in the wake of Citizens United. It’s absolutely staggering, and you’re seeing it across the country.”

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 paved the way for outside groups to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections. The ruling has given rise to super PACs and 501c organizations, which amass huge amounts of money from individual and corporate donors and spend it on whatever they see fit. They are legally barred from coordinating with campaigns.

Tisei’s biggest outside contributors have been from the National Republican Congressional Committee ($1.55 million), the Young Guns Super PACs ($923,000), the American Unity PAC ($519,000) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($400,000).

Tierney has received outside support from the National Education Association Super PAC ($500,000), House Majority Super PAC ($442,000), the Protect our Schools Fund Super PAC ($308,000) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ($345,000).

Failed PAC agreement

During the summer, the Tierney and Tisei camps discussed signing a pledge similar to the one that Warren and Brown agreed to, aimed at limiting outside influence over the race. But talks broke down in June and both sides blame the other.

When the Tierney campaign approached the Tisei camp in May about signing what’s known as “The People’s Pledge” banning independent expenditures, the Tisei camp “came back and said, `All right, not unless you agree to a whole bunch of conditions,’” Robison, Tierney’s campaign manager, said.

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