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WASHINGTON, DC – A new report by U.S. PIRG Education Fund shows that 77 percent of funding in the 34 senate races happening nationwide comes from out-of-state. Released on Monday, Outside Influence: Out-of-State Money in the 2016 Senate Elections highlights the share of money that candidates, PACs, super PACs, and party committees have raised from outside the state they are spending on. In seven swing senate races highlighted in the report, a full 85 percent of election funding is coming from out-of-state.
“Our elections should be about the voters making a decision on who they want to represent their voice in Congress,” said Andre Delattre, Executive Director of U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “When three out of every four campaign dollars comes from out-of-state interests, you’ve got a real problem on your hands. If our candidates want to run a competitive campaign, they’re forced to appeal to out-of-state donors rather than their constituents. This isn’t a Republican problem or a Democrat problem. Big money is an all of us problem and that’s why millions of Americans have spoken out calling for a solution.”
Outside Influence finds that this year’s senate candidates raised 62 percent of their disclosed and itemized funding from out-of-state donors. Super PACs, party committees and other outside groups which disclose their donors raised over 88 percent of their funds from out-of-state.
The study uses candidate and committee filings with the Federal Election Commission to examine what portion of money in this year’s senate races was raised from out-of-state sources. Money from unitemized campaign donors, 501(c) organizations, and other secret-money groups are not included due to a lack of information on donor origins.
Outside Influence is being published in an election year where Americans have made money in politics a top national concern. Seventy-eight percent of Americans, including a wide majority of both Republicans and Democrats believe that Citizens United should be overturned. Polling also shows that a large majority Americans believe that fundamental changes are needed in our campaign finance system to empower voters over large donors and special interests.
With public debate around important issues often dominated by special interests pursuing their own narrow agendas, U.S. PIRG Education Fund offers an independent voice that works on behalf of the public interest. U.S. PIRG Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, works to protect consumers and promote good government. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public, and offer Americans meaningful opportunities for civic participation.
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