October 13th, 2010
01:09 PM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Nearly half bothered by anonymous donations

(CNN) - A new poll suggests that the new attacks by Democrats against Republicans over the use of anonymous donations may be registering with voters.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and other top officials at the Democratic National Committee over the past week have criticized independent organizations for raising and spending big bucks this election cycle in support of Republican candidates and causes, without disclosing some of their donors.

The organizations, and other top Republicans have fired back, saying the Democrats accusations are baseless and that campaign finance laws allow for the identity of some donors to be kept secret, if the groups are set up as tax-exempt non-profit organizations.

A Bloomberg national poll indicates that 47 percent of Americans say they would be less likely to support a particular candidate if his or her campaign was aided by advertising paid for by anonymous business groups, with nine percent saying they would be more likely to back such a candidate and 41 percent saying that it would not matter.

Many of the groups are using the money they raise to pay for television commercials and get out the vote efforts, supplementing efforts already underway by the Republican party and the individual campaigns. Money by groups supporting Republicans greatly outnumbers cash by such organizations backing Democrats this election cycle.

The groups are structured as a tax-exempt "social welfare" 501(c)(4) organizations. As part of its tax exempt status, the organizations are allowed to both raise unlimited amounts of money and keep the names and organizations of their contributors secret – an allowance that facilitates groups of this type to raise considerably more money than standard so-called 527 groups which have to report their donors.

The Bloomberg national poll was conducted October 7-10, with 721 likely voters across the country questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for likely voters is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

Filed under: 2010 • Democrats • Fundraising • Polls • Republicans
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Fed Up

    As long as the Dems disclose who their donors are – all f them, unlike BIll Clinton – then disclosure is fine. I know we have a new "transparency" in Washington nowadays. Transparently illegal, that is.

    October 13, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Leon pa

    Avery body should

    October 13, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. sinpolitica

    This is just one more glaring example for why this country should adopt public campaign finance reform. Until we stop people or corporations with unlimited supply of money from buying votes, our political system will descend into more and more corruption.

    October 13, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Michael MN

    The Sepreme court will rule soon that Corporations can hold office and just get the Middle men ( politicians ) out of the way so they can run the country in the open with out having to buy off polticians

    October 13, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. Darth Vadik, CA

    It will register with any SANE American.
    But conservatives are INSANE people, anything to put their (WHITE RACIST HOMOPHOBIC) guy in the office.

    Remember a few years ago the stink the conservatives made about Al Gore and China, one of those baseless allegations by the conservatives during the good ole' Gingrich years. Remember the FAKE outrage. Remember Tom Delay having (secret) trips to Russia in 1999 during the Kosovo campaign and both Russia and the extreme conservatives hoping that US would have a lot of casualties because that was Clinton's war.



    oh yes, you are insane, a little conscience does NOT exist in a sociopath!!!!

    October 13, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. katiec

    The American people should not only be bothered, they should be indignent, scared, outraged that this is being allowed to happen to our political system.
    If everything is above board than why do those involved refuse to list donors?
    They are trying to buy the elections, voters, and we must get out and vote to prevent total Wall St, big business, the rich

    October 13, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. Mandy

    I believe the author of this article is a child molester. It is up to him to prove that he is not!

    This tactic is a time honored tradition with the Democrats. Never mind that the titular mouthpiece of the left, the NYT, published an article showing how baseless the accusations are. Must keep repeating them on orders from the journ-o-list amirite?

    I would point everyone back to the Thomas nomination hearings, where Ted Kennedy was suggesting that the nominee was a pervert and had something to hide, because he refused to hand over his movie rental list.

    CNN, I thought you were pretending to be true journalists again. What happened?

    October 13, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. barry

    Yes and half of the people in this think they're over taxed and half think they are paying a fair amount of taxes. Half of the people in this country pay income taxes and half don't. Now half are opposed to anonymous donations and half aren't. I wonder if the people who oppose anonymous donations, the people who feel their taxes are about right, and the people who don't pay income taxes are all the same 50%. That might be the same 50% that don't have jobs and draw welfare and food stamps. Just a question of course there are no facts to back it up.

    October 13, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Eric in Denver

    Okay geniuses in case you don't remember the great messiah was getting plenty of anonymous donors during his election to become president. He said that donors can utilize cash cards that didn't have names on them to help fund his campaign. In fact one person donated $5 on donations that came from Iran, Iraq, and other nations in the middle east and in fact names himself non real person. This is not a right wing conspiracy look it up libtards. The hypocrisy by this administration has become laughable. They will do anything they can to try to distract us from there horrible policies and unpopularity with our country. The problem for them is that the American people have finally awoken and will be sending a message in 20 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 13, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Tinkers Dam

    How about Obama disclosing all the donors from his 2008 campaign. It worked for him in '08, now the shoe is on the other foot and it hurts like hell. All hail Obama, liar in chief.

    October 13, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. cjr

    rove, gillespi, the chamber are all selling out this country – they are running a huge scam – and sending american jobs to third world countries – vote no to all republicans!

    October 13, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. DTOM

    Laughable spin CNN! What about the anonymous 4.8 million in foreign currency pumped into Obummer's election coffer? Whatever is needed to be Obama into the ground is worth it!

    October 13, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Chesapeake voter

    Where were all these critics during the 2008 presidential election when people could use untraceable gift cards to
    give donations to a political party. If the shoe fits on the right foot then it should also fit on the left....

    October 13, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. R

    All the more reason to wipe out these groups entirely – for both political parties. Yes, both parties have them, and you cheerleaders out there can't honestly say they are only on one political party. Did you honestly think us "common people" can go and attend a dinner fundraiser at $10,000 a plate? And, a big thank you to the Supreme Court for allowing companies to be able to throw as much money into the elections as they want (and yes, I am being sarcastic in that last sentence). I had hoped you all didn't sell your souls like every other politician out there, but I was wrong.

    October 13, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. bfranklin

    CNN your Democrat colors are showing. Shouldn't the headline read "Less than half......" In addition, I have seen no reference to the fact that President Obama benefitted from the same types of groups while he was running for President next year. It appears that the White House strategy is to distract voters from their record and throw wild allegations at their opponents. Remember just 2 years ago when there was sill dignity in the White House?

    October 13, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. PaDoc

    Hallelujah! Some daylight? Maybe? I, for one, sure wanna know if/when foreign nationals and/or corporate interests are getting a hold of my Democracy!

    October 13, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. joe

    People, get ovr it. This is nothing more than a smoke screen by the Democratic Party. They have nothing to campaiign on. No Democrat is running on the Health Care Plan, The Stimulus, Cap and Trade, nothing that hey have passed. Why??? Because they know the people in this country are against everything they and Obama have done. So they resort to this and all th personal attacks that are going on thru out the country. They cannot list one accomplishment they are proud of so they have to resort tothis. Also Obama had tons of money donated this way so that is the reason Rove is calling him a hypocrite. While we are at it why do we not ask Obama where he got the money to go to Harvard???? He sure did nt get it from his parents. What country funded his education????

    October 13, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    That's a desperation move on the part of the Dems.....make accusations there is no proof of, whatsoever.

    October 13, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. Jennifer

    We should be bothered. Republicans and their billion dollar donors are stealing our democracy. It's shameless.

    October 13, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Ron in Califonia

    This is just another Tactic to deflect the voters attention away from the fact that the Dems are failing in running the country. They should be embarassed to make such accusations without evidence. You'll note that there are many such organizations supporting the DEMS...they should all be required to list their donors as well . However, when you do list the donors the DEMs attack dogs like the unions, Moveon.org, and NOW attack and intimidate the donors it is just the way they do business. IF THE DEMS HAD A GOOD MESSAGE THEY WOULD BE TOUTING IT. SLIMY IF YOU ASK ME.

    October 13, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Four and The Door

    The Republicans are playing by the same rules as the Democrats. Right?
    In spite of Obama's hopes :), Americans will be focused on results in November. Since the Democrats were so smug about owning the legislation since 1'09, they also own the results. This will hurt them.

    October 13, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. ATLDre

    "A Bloomberg national poll indicates that 47 percent of Americans say they would be less likely to support a particular candidate if his or her campaign was aided by advertising paid for by anonymous business groups, with nine percent saying they would be more likely to back such a candidate and 41 percent saying that it would not matter."

    The poll forgot to ask about prepaid cash cards and anonymous internet donations to presidential campaigns.

    October 13, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. U.S. Common Sense

    It doesn't bother me as much as it does that the Administration is trying to force them to disclose the list of donors even though they know the group isn't required to by law. Sounds more like the Administration is trying to go on a witch hunt before the party loses its monopoly over the federal government.

    October 13, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. cropter

    The allegations of compliance violations originated from thinkprogress.org; a media arm of the Center for American Progress. Anyone familiar with thinkprogress understands that it is a bitterly partisan website. The Center for American Progress advertises itself as a non-partisan entity. It enjoys tax exempt status and refuses to disclose its own donors. If the Center for American Progress is adamant about demanding compliance and disclosure from the USCC for its partisan activities, shouldn't they be compelled to explain their own partisan activities in light of their tax exempt status?

    October 13, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Nonie

    As an independent, I am APPALLED at the amount of foreign money going into our elections. Who knows where this money is coming from. Osama Bin Ladin could be financing our elections and we will never know. Big Oil,, Banks, Insurance companies are mad cause some congressmen and senators stood up for REGULAR FOLKS and not Corporations doing everything to game the system. People should be OUTRAGED!!! Corporation are NOT VOTERS and it goes to show americans that for the past 30 years congress has been bought and sold and we as voters need to stand up and demand that lobbyists get out of washington dc. Government should be of, by and for the people, not WE THE CORPORATIONS!!

    October 13, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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