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. Ken in NC

    Well I guess that next year the Supreme Court will hand down a ruling that allows for a tax-exempt "social welfare bribe group" 501(c)(4)(b). The (b) for bribe will allow this group to solicite and collect bride money to be paid to politicians for a majority share in ownership of the politician without naming the contributors. Oh, I forgot that "Big Business" already owns them. I guess the court ruling will simply make it legal to buy and sell politicians and maybe trade them on the stock market. That way Big Business may consider bundling politicians together and selling them on the market as "Political Derivatives".

    October 13, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. rktread

    Still won't save your sorry butts come November 2nd. Shoulda thought about how the voters would react to your efforts to stamp out economic activity before you started wholesale slaughter of the American ecomony. Way too little, way too late. Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey hey, GOODBYE!!!!!!!

    October 13, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. 21 Days until Socialism dies in the United States

    Pathetic 11th hours LIES from the leftist loon DemocRATS to distract voters from their miserable failed policies. Even the New York Times has called these baseless claims. And these are the same leftist loons that collected $400 MILLION in the same way to help elect Obozo. I guess they are crying now because they aren't getting as much money to foist their lies and failure on the American public.

    October 13, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. Robert in NYC

    I think the anonymous donations by Republicans and this whole Chamber of Commerce fiasco is terrible!

    October 13, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. Right Leaning Independent

    Damn Right!! I am very bothered by the anonymous donations made to Obama during his Presidential campaign!!! I do love seeing this bunch of HYPOCRITE Dems crying foul now that they are being out fund-raised!!! Good to see conservatives become more engaged this year!!!!

    October 13, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. stufthis

    The republicans have taken pride in shipping jobs overseas, and are reaping the benefits with donations from China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc. The republicans have promised to privatize social security, repeal health reform, raise the age to collect social security and medicare, repeal the minimum wage, repeal the regulations put on Wall Street and big banks, and have voted against every job creation bill. Sounds like domestic terrorism.

    October 13, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. LIP

    Well, you know what they say about pointing fingers and have the Democrats ever disclosed their donors, such as the $400 million that Obama received and wouldn't disclose when he was elected.

    October 13, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. Gobama!

    A business should not be allowed to spend advertising dollars on political campaigns. Right now in America, businesses have more rights than citizens...and this isn't the only example. Shame on you SCOTUS.

    October 13, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. Dean

    Gee, Obama and Biden sure didn't object to this type of funding two years ago when they were getting it.

    October 13, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. colinsux


    oh wow the republicans may have some questionable donors. big surprise. this isn't news, 'Obama on Chilean Miners' is news.

    October 13, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Donovan

    Osama Bin Laden, Castro, and Chavez could get together and create WeLOVEAmerica PAC ... spend BILLIONS in our elections to poison the process ... and would only be required to disclose that "This ad is brought to you by WeLOVEAmerica PAC".

    This is what Americans fear ... and with good reason after the Cirizens United decision.

    October 13, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I'm not for it and I wasn't polled. Corporations are trying to buy the U.S. government. Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie are treasonous scum.

    October 13, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. tom

    How many donations did Obama get where he did not disclose who it came from? maybe we should look into that also. either way it is wrong but way should some have to prove it and not others. This administration is becoming more of a joke every day.

    October 13, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  14. Lisa, Fl

    so, 41% of americans are as dumb as a rock!!

    poor country...........

    October 13, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. once upon a horse

    if this situation was reversed and the C of C was using all this money to demean Republicans, I bet the likes of Limbaugh, Palin, Beck and Hannity would be all over them. Didn't the GOP just block a vote that would deny large corporations sending jobs overseas? Anyway why is the American Chamber of Commerce going all out to back just one party anyway? All sounds fishy to me and anything with Karl Rove's handprint on it just can't be straight up fair.

    October 13, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. G-nO-P

    Isn't it funny that The obama administration put forth a bill for transparency to disclose donors .. the republicans, to ABSOLUTELY NOBODYS SURPRISE, votes No .. and then complains that although they wont disclose where their hundred of milolions are coming from, it couldnt possibly be from a foreign source.. the republicans have become the most unpatriotic and treasonous party this country has seen in such a long time.. what shame how far they have Devolved ...

    October 13, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Edwin

    People SAY they'd be less likely to vote for that candidate, but let's be honest - how many people ACTUALLY look at the sponsors of political ads? I don't.

    The fact is, negative ads work. They shouldn't, but they do. And an anonymous sponsor can make an attack ad without supporting the other candidate - so most people probably won't see the connection...

    October 13, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. gt

    thats the democratic half.... but done worry they have george soros,,,

    October 13, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. kyle from ohio

    By nature of the definition of hiding the donors; leave room for the most honest people to do wrong, so what is expected of those who may not be so honest to this ruling and take this to it's unknown limits. Why would our S.C. give that much room for fraud without being concern about our fonding fathers wish of One man One Vote, because there is no way they could have pass this on that merit.

    October 13, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. Tim

    But for some reason, CNN didn't see the need to question known foreign contributions to Obama's presidential campaign?

    You see, most American's can see what is happening, and they don't like it. You better jump on our bandwagon before it's too late.

    October 13, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. T'SAH from Virginia

    "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..."

    Hmm, are these the same BIG/small business/CORPs filing as if they're an S Corporation????? Are these non-profit or tax-exempt corporations making MILLIONS/BILLIONS under other shields????? If the accusations are BASELESS – then prove us WRONG!!!!

    VOTERS – don't support any candidate unless you now where the money is coming from. It may be organizations and/or groups that you DON'T agree with 'policy-wise'???? Think about it!!!

    DEMOCRATS – keep pushing because it's not only us who want to know – ALL parties should want to know, including Independents (since they seem to be the VOTE-SWAYERS???? I am sure they are not corrupt, that's why they are Independents – true Independents!!!!!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message!!

    October 13, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Ben in Texas

    The right wing will try to counter this devastating argument against the selling of our country to foreign interests by saying, "Well, the Democrats get union money," as if that makes everything okay. The amount of union money donated to Democrats is a tiny fraction of what is flowing into our electoral process and Repugnant groups from the enemies of America. There is no justification for allowing rich, corrupt foreigners, America's enemies, to control and manipulate the U.S. political system. None whatsoever.

    October 13, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Steve (the real one)

    Really? Is this really a story in 2010 but wasn't one in 2008? Really? It seems that this is only a story because although the liberals are getting anonymously donated funding as well, it is just not the lions's share!

    "Money by groups supporting Republicans greatly outnumbers cash by such organizations backing Democrats this election cycle".

    Let's talk about whose getting big union money! Let's do that sometimes!

    October 13, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. illinois nurse

    Foregn money... you mean like George Soros, buddhist monks, Chinese military.... that foregn money? Hypocrite-in-chief.

    October 13, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Bob in PA

    A bunch of bull pucky. Like no Democratic group has anonymous donations. The all knowing, mighty Obama had anonymous donations of his own in 2008, but no reporter here seemed to care.

    October 13, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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