Big givers shifting focus on donations

Sept. 30, 2010 at 4:08 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Wealthy Democrats have cut their political donations, leaving Republicans to outspend them on midterm television advertising, a political adviser said.

The absence of Democratic "mega donors" is contributing to a huge disparity in the amount of money Republican candidates are spending to promote candidates in November's election, The New York Times reported.

Billionaires George Soros and Peter B. Lewis each gave Democratic-oriented groups $20 million in 2004 but have changed their focus in current giving, the newspaper reported.

"Mr. Soros believes that he can be most effective by funding groups that promote progressive policy outcomes in areas such as healthcare, the environment and foreign policy," said adviser Michael Vachon. "So he has opted to fund those activities."

Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising, said Republican-leaning groups outspent their Democratic counterparts by more than 7 to 1 on Senate race television ads, and nearly 4 to 1 in House races in the past week.

Big donors may be holding back on donations because of pessimism about Democratic prospects in November, but they're still making some donations, the newspaper said.

Soros, for example, gave $1.25 million this year to America Votes, an umbrella organization of liberal-leaning groups that focuses on voter mobilization.

Jennifer Frutchy, who advises Lewis on his philanthropy, said he is donating funds to "building progressive infrastructure and marijuana reform."

"That's just where his head is right now," Frutchy said.

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