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For Immediate Release
October 20, 2004

Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
Kelly Huff
George Smaragdis



WASHINGTON -- During the first 18 days of October, party committees, PACs, and others reported making nearly $87.2 million in independent expenditures on behalf of, or against federal candidates. Most of this spending was reported by the two major parties, whose national, senatorial, and congressional campaign committees reported $73.2 million in independent spending.

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA, or McCain-Feingold) banned unrestricted “soft money” for national party committees. In previous campaigns those funds were often used to pay part of the cost of broadcast ads that referred to federal candidates, but did not advocate their election or defeat. This year, parties have significantly increased their spending of “hard money” (raised under the limits and prohibitions of federal election law) for independent expenditures, which advocate the election or defeat of specific candidates but are not coordinated with the campaigns.

BCRA also requires an individual, group or committee to file reports if its independent spending exceeds $10,000 for or against a federal candidate and the spending occurs prior to 20 days before the election. For the final 20 days of the campaign the pre-BCRA reporting requirements remain in effect. Independent expenditures aggregating at least $1,000 must be reported within 24 hours during that period. These disclosure filings are summarized here.

  The spending reported here is in addition to nearly $45.5 million reported for the month of September (see release of October 5, 2004 ).

Between January 1, 2003 , and August 31, 2004 , an additional $65.8 million in independent expenditures has been reported by individuals, political committees, and other organizations. (Note: some activity during that time period has yet to be tabulated from quarterly reports filed on October 15.) Therefore, independent expenditures in this two-year period have exceeded $198 million.

Independent expenditures expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified federal candidate by using messages such as “vote for” or “defeat” and are made independently of a candidate's campaign. Political committees, using funds within the limits and prohibitions of federal law may make unlimited independent expenditures. Individuals are also permitted to make unlimited independent expenditures.

The Democratic National Committee reported the largest independent expenditure total thus far in October, spending $27.6 million in opposition to George W. Bush and supporting John Kerry. The National Republican Congressional Committee reported spending $19.9 million supporting Republican and opposing Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $13.7 million. Other groups reporting more than $1 million in independent spending in October included the Republican National Committee ($5 million), the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($4.6 million), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ($2.5 million), the United Auto Workers PAC ($2.3 million), the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund ($2.1 million), Moveon PAC ($1.3 million), the Service Employees International Union PAC ($1.1 million), and the League of Conservation Voters Inc. ($1 million).

  Independent expenditures are distinct from “electioneering communications” which must also be disclosed under BCRA. Electioneering communications are broadcast ads that make reference to federal candidates but don't expressly advocate their election or defeat. Reported spending on these ads totaled $27.3 million during the first 18 days of October.

Attached to this release are lists of all groups reporting independent expenditures since October 1, 2004 , including the totals spent for or against each candidate.  Summaries of funds spent for Electioneering Communications covering the months of September and October are also provided.

Committees Reporting Independent Expenditures October 1-18 [excel] [pdf]

Details of October Independent Expenditures [excel] [pdf]

Electioneering Communications Reported since September 2, 2004 [excel] [pdf]

Electioneering Communications Reported Since October 1 [excel] [pdf]