Analysis by the Washington Times reveals that conservative “social welfare” organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and Crossroads GPS, organized under section 501(c)(4) of the federal tax code, combined to buy more commercials in major media markets than either the Obama campaign or Romney campaign, though that trend will likely be reversed as we move forward toward November.
According to the Times: “Last week Americans for Prosperity…bought 282 ads, including 23 in Charlotte, 23 in Philadelphia, 24 in Las Vegas and 21 each in Minneapolis and Albuquerque.” Meanwhile, “Crossroads GPS bought another 97 ads….
“The way the ad market works, outside groups get better bang for their buck in the summer. Come the fall, they said they expect the campaigns to dominate again.”
Traditionally, the left has relied upon Big Labor and other liberal advocacy groups to run very similar ads. As was previously pointed out at Politico, Big Labor and the right’s new groups are not in precisely the same boat when it comes to dealing with the IRS. However, it isn’t as if Democrats are down on the idea; they simply haven’t been able to generate a similar level of donations: “… many Democratic leaders — if not Obama, who discouraged it in 2008 — would eagerly pour money into elections through 501(c)(4)s, if they could raise it.”
Consequently, one could predict the current response: “Social welfare” groups face pressure for transparency.”‘ Democrats know full well it’s an issue of free speech. But as they have been unable to copy it thus far, they are now talking about trying to shut it down. File that under the usual hypocrisy from the left one always sees. In this case, it amounts to, “free speech for me, but not for thee.”