Buying A Voice: League of Conservation Voters
Many groups that buy television advertising during campaign season are organizations dedicated to one specific cause.
The League of Conservation Voters generally supports democratic candidates, but their priority is protecting the environment. They have already bought a $1 million ad buy across 3 states including Virginia.
In 2012 they have made defending Barack Obama and attacking Senate candidate George Allen their priority.
Here is the ad that was shown in Richmond:
That first TV ad of the 2012 season attacks an “unnamed” politician, that unnamed politician represents those who vote against measures they claim won’t protect clean air.
They get a bit more specific in a web ad that “congratulates” George Allen on being named to their “dirty dozen”.
So who are the league of conservation voters, and where do they get millions of dollars to invest in TV advertising?
Most of their donors contribute somewhere between $200 and $5 thousand dollars, and the vast majority of their money has come from sources outside of Virginia.
Their PAC most disclose their donors, and who show where that money goes. So far in 2012 they have filed 13 different independent expenditures for Virginia senate candidate “Timothy Michael Kaine”, a total of just under $20 thousand to this point.
They also have established a SuperPAC for 2012 which allows them to bring in big donations without much accountability. But their real power could come from a partnership with the Obama endorsed SuperPAC “Priorties USA” which will help fund pro-Obama ads across the country.
While the organization is not afraid to cross party lines for a candidate that shares their views, its rare. In 2010 less than 2% of their money went to republicans. In 2012, so far every single dollar spent has been in support of democrats.
Here is where we got our information:
*The League of Conservation voters has a list of all their endorsed candidates and television ads on their web site
*The list of donors to the LCV can be found on the Federal Election Commissions web site.
*The LCV’s expenditures, specifically those to Tim Kaine, can be found here.
*The Center For Responsive Politics breaks down who the LCV supports on opensecrets.org.