A Dark Money IOU

Campaign Finance, Policy

This is an article I co-authored on the latest project I’ve working on at the Center for Responsive Politics:

  • In Oklahoma, a dark money group tried to get the state’s GOP House speaker, T.W. Shannon, elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. Though it claimed to be a social welfare nonprofit, Oklahomans for a Conservative Future spent most of its money that year on pro-Shannon political advocacy.
  • Along the way, at least one of those running the group also worked for consulting firms paid by the Shannon campaign itself. And an affidavit given in connection with drug charges against OCF’s co-founder suggested the group may have been acting as an extension of Shannon’s campaign.
  • OCF owned up to overspending on politics in a letter to the IRS — but told the agency not to worry, because in 2015 it made up for the transgression.
  • Even if that kind of accounting were allowed — which it’s not, experts say — the group appears to have done little more since Shannon’s defeat than run ads made by a trade group of independent oil and gas producers.
  • The link between the trade group and the nonprofit? Former Rep. J.C. Watts, lobbyist for the trade group and former employer of several of the nonprofit’s board members.

Read the full article on OpenSecrets.orgNonprofit cops to too much politicking, sends IRS an IOU

How Carly Fiorina’s Super PAC Mirrors Her Campaign

Campaign Finance


TIME cross-posted an article about a project to which I contributed research for the Center for Responsive Politics‘ OpenSecrets blog:

How Carly Fiorina’s Super PAC Mirrors Her Campaign

Obama Favored Against Likely GOP Candidates

Policy, Public Opinion

My research and analysis for Pack Poll:

Nearly 900 state students were asked about their voting intentions come November.  Half of the students were asked, at random, about their voting intention if Romney was the Republican candidate while the other half were asked this same question if Santorum were the nominee.

We find that Barack Obama holds a slight 39% to 33% lead over Mitt Romney among N.C. State students, although his 6% lead is not outside of the margin of sampling error (4.7%) for this question.  Also, more than a fifth (21%) of students say that they are undecided, and an additional 7% of students say they would vote for a different candidate if these were their choices.  Clearly, a lot can change between now and November.

Obama does much better if Rick Santorum becomes the Republican nominee for President.  In this match-up, a substantial minority (42%) of students report that they would be more likely to vote for Barack Obama while just 24% of students report preferring Rick Santorum.  Another quarter (25%) of students do not know who they would vote for if presented with this ballot decision, while the remaining 9% of students would vote for someone else.


Obama leads Mitt Romney by just two points (38% to 36%) among male students. However, male students favored Obama over Santorum by a 42% to 27% margin. Barack Obama holds a substantial lead among female students regardless of the match-up, leading Romney 41% to 31% and Santorum 43% to 23%.

Party ID

The candidates hold their base.  Students who call themselves Republicans or Democrats express substantially more support for candidates of their own party. More than eight-in-ten students who consider themselves to be Democrats (85%, 83% respectively) say that they would vote for Barack Obama if either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum becomes the Republican nominee for President. A sizable majority (69%) of Republican students favor Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in the General Election. In a worrisome sign for Santorum, only slightly more than half of Republican students (54%) would support him as the Republican Party’s candidate. Almost three times as many Republicans as Democrats (28% to 10%) say that they do not know who they would vote for if Rick Santorum becomes the Republican nominee for President while more than one in five Republican students would remain irresolute if Mick Romney becomes the Republican nominee for President. Among students who call themselves Independents or choose not to affiliate with the Republican or Democratic Party, Barack Obama holds a moderate lead against potential Republican presidential nominees, with an eleven point lead against Mitt Romney (38% to 27%) and a substantial thirty point lead against Rick Santorum (45% to 15%).

Republicans Democrats Independents
Obama 4% 83% 37%
Romney 69% 3% 27%
I Don’t Know 22% 13% 28%
Other 5% 1% 8%
Obama 9% 85% 44%
Santorum 54% 2% 15%
Other 9% 3% 7%
I Don’t Know 28% 10% 34%

Likely Voters

If students reported being registered to vote, Barack Obama’s lead increases slightly.  Among this group, Obama holds a nine-point lead against Mitt Romney (42% to 33%) and a substantial seventeen-point lead against Rick Santorum (44% to 27%). Almost third (31%) of students who say that they are registered to vote are affiliated with the Republican Party while 27% of students who report being registered to vote are affiliated with the Democratic Party.

Source: http://packpoll.com/obama-favored-against-likely-gop-candidates/