Congressional Money Report to Highlight Impact of Big Money in Primaries

Media Releases

U.S. PIRG Education Fund

***Media Advisory***

WHAT: On Wednesday, September 14, U.S. PIRG Education Fund will release a final update to its report on the success of big-money candidates in congressional primaries. The update will amend the report to include the results of House and Senate races in all states, showing how often better-funded congressional candidates win their races.

WHO: U.S. PIRG Education Fund

WHEN: Wednesday, September 14

REPORT BACKGROUND: Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, mega-donors and special interest groups have flooded elections, up and down the ballot, with large contributions. In congressional races, fundraising success and the support of wealthy donors can often mean the difference between winning and losing an election.

Over the course of the 2016 congressional primaries, U.S. PIRG Education Fund has tracked the success of candidates running for the House and Senate based on their fundraising returns. In its last report, released June 29, U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that candidates who raised more funds won their primaries 82 percent of the time. The last congressional primaries of 2016 will take place on Tuesday, September 13.

While the influence of money in our political system extends beyond electoral wins and losses and has an impact on how candidates legislate once they win office, this report focuses on highlighting the electoral advantage provided by a better-funded campaign.

ISSUE BACKGROUND: Polls show that a vast majority of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents support overturning Citizens United and revamping campaign finance laws in the United States. This April, thousands of activists flooded Washington, D.C., to demonstrate for reforms as part of Democracy Awakening, a three-day mass mobilization supporting voting rights and fair elections.

Localities including Miami Dade County, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, South Dakota, and Washington State are now considering similar legislative and regulatory reforms to empower small donors over special interest groups and big contributors in their elections. This year, California and Washington State will put referenda on the ballot asking voters whether they support overturning Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that opened elections to super PAC and corporate spending.

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.