Morning must-read: Contribution Link offers detailed look at leadership committee spending

By on August 6, 2012

The following is a guest-post from Brecht Heuchan of Contribution Link, is a political information delivery company that uniquely provides strategic consulting services to candidates, campaigns, lobbyists, political parties and other corporate advocacy organizations.

Florida’s F2 campaign finance reporting period covers from July 7 through July 20. All state level candidates and political committees, excluding political parties, file campaign contribution and expenditure activity reports for this time period. We cleaned then uploaded approximately 6000 F2 contribution records given to the hundreds of political committees we monitor.

As the primary election looms, there has been an expected and sizeable uptick in activity by these political groups in Florida. Much has been made recently about “leadership” committees and their increased role in Florida politics. That fact is undeniable however a broader point needs to be made that most political money is still spent in more traditional ways.

Here are a few notable observations from our review.

To take a comprehensive look at political fundraising in Florida, by committee or otherwise, we have to take a few significant factors into consideration. Through March of this year, the two major political parties raised roughly $32 million collectively, $25.2 million by the RPOF and $6.5 by the FDP. This number, in reality, is much higher because state parties haven’t filed a report since April, the numbers don’t yet include four months of prime fundraising time.

In analyzing political committees excluding parties, we eliminated contributions reported by some committees in Florida which appear to have been raised and spent in other states. To avoid double counting, we also eliminated the committees which receive all or most of their contributions from other committees.

After applying these filters, for simplicity, we looked at the top 100 remaining political committee contribution amounts for this cycle and they totaled $53 million, of which $17.5 million was raised by committees with office holder affiliations aka “leadership funds”.

Stat summary:

  • $32 million by the two parties *** plus unknown four months of contributions since March
  • $53 million by top 100 political committees
  • $29 million by 402 candidates (does not incl. termination report contributions by those candidates elected w/o opposition)

Therefore, through the 2012 F2 report period, no more than 15.3% of political funds were raised in Florida by leadership committees. The remainder went to candidates, the two parties and industry or organization committees with long histories of political involvement for their cause.

  • Two Florida Realtor committees have raised $4.9 million for the cycle.
  • Florida’s doctors put $1.5 million into their Florida Medical Association PAC.
  • Florida Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy organization, doubled their contributions in this last reporting period with total now reaching $770,000.
  • The Florida Transportation Builders Assn PAC raised $478k.
  • Genting’s New Jobs and Revenue’s for Florida posted another $142k bringing its total this cycle to $747k.
  • Business group committees, four related to AIF, four related to the Florida Chamber and eleven affiliated with the Florida Retail Federation have raised a combined total of almost $3.3 million. While the Florida Justice Association PAC on its own hit $1.4 million for the cycle.
  • And HCA through four of its committees raised almost $1.2 million.
Note:  Due to the general nature of Contribution Lin’s analysis, there is some amount of double counting, primarily when looking at the OHA committees. Even with our adjustments to the criteria articulated above, the anomaly happens when one committee gives to another.

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