Source: FEC data
8/14 UPDATE: Beginning this week, DocDawg will publish weekly updates to the Advantage Gauge every Thursday morning as separate diaries entitled Mayday PAC moves the needle: Campaign spending update for week of [mm/dd]. Please look for 'em!
Weekly diaries in this series: 8/13, 8/20.
From now through the November elections, this diary and its extremely brief weekly updates will serve the communities of Mayday supporters, opponents, and innocent bystanders alike as an easy one-stop-shop for timely insight into how Mayday is spending its money in support of its endorsees (or, what is the same thing, in opposition to its endorsees' opponents).
Mayday PAC is the "ironic" $12 million (and counting) campaign finance reform SuperPAC that seeks to put all SuperPACs (including itself) out of business through independent support of candidates who in turn support campaign finance reform legislation.
Conceived by Lawrence Lessig and dedicated to the proposition that campaigns for federal office should be publicly funded rather than, as they are today, dominated by Big Dark Money, Mayday intends to endorse five reform-minded candidates for Congress this year, as a warmup exercise for what it hopes will be its irresistible push in the 2016 cycle. It announced its first two endorsements in late July (Staci Appel [D; IA-03], and Jim Rubens [R; NH-Sen]), and at the time of this diary's publication its remaining endorsements are thought to be imminent.
Our source for all data appearing below, through this November, will be the U.S. Federal Election Commission's (FEC) independent expenditure database. By law, independent committees such as PACs must file notice with the FEC of every single independent expenditure they make in support of or in opposition to a declared candidate. These declarations must be filed with FEC within 48 hours of each expenditure, and are usually posted to FEC's online database quite rapidly (your tax dollars at work!). This database thus provides a great near-real-time window onto PACs' activities on the ground. Unfortunately, you need to be something of a nerd to tease such insights out of the great undigested mass of FEC data. So I'm your huckleberry.
An important feature of this diary will be the Advantage Gauge you see above, updated weekly to tote up net Mayday spending in favor of Democratic versus Republican candidates. Mayday goes to great lengths to try to look and sound non-partisan (with board directors and large matching donors alike who represent both the Democratic and Republican (and the liberal and conservative) ends of the political spectrum. At the grassroots donor level, however, I have previously documented that Mayday money comes predominantly from liberal states and that grassroots Republican donors appear to be scarcer'n hens' teeth. These conclusions have been largely confirmed by Mayday's Lessig himself, who recently announced that grassroots donors who restrict their donations to be spent in support of 'Democrats Only' outnumber those specifying 'Republicans Only' by nearly 50-to-1. Thus, I think, it is an interesting and important question to ask precisely how a nominally non-partisan PAC divides its largely partisan small donors' money between D and R candidate support.
Now join me below the fold for a very brief summary of this week's (and the next's, and the next's...) data.
Feel free to bookmark this page and check in every Thursday afternoon for freshly-updated data.
Endorsee Staci Appel [D; IA-03] (oppo D. Young [R])
For the period July 1 - Aug 13:
Last week's spending pro-Appel: $0
Last week's spending anti-Young: $0
Total to date pro-Appel: $0
Total to date anti-Young: $0
Endorsee Jim Rubens [R; NH-Sen] (oppo S. Brown [R])
For the period July 1 - Aug 13:
Last week's spending pro-Rubens: $143,420
Last week's spending anti-Brown: $0
Total to date pro-Rubens: $143,420
Total to date anti-Brown: $0
(Republican New Hampshire primary to be held on Sept. 9. Through that date, all spending either pro-Rubens or anti-Brown will accrue to 'Advantage Republicans' on the Advantage Gauge)