FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Friday, August 21, 2015

LEAKED: U.S. Chamber May Try To Help Rep. McSally By Playing In Democratic Primary (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than $600,000 last year to help elect Martha McSally (R-CD2) in a nail-biter of a race.  To help re-elect her next year, they are looking at battering one or both of her possible opponents in the Democratic primary.

The Associated Press has obtained an internal Chamber memo suggesting that the Chamber start playing in the contested Democratic primary between State Rep. Victoria Steele and former State Rep. Matt Heinz.

As the AP quotes from the Chamber's memo - written by its top political operatives to be considered by its Public Affairs Committee - Democrats have recently acknowledged playing in GOP primaries to their benefit, so this would be a fair turnabout.  Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill recently wrote a detailed piece on Politico about how she paid for advertisements to assist the ill-fated Todd Akin to win the primary there in 2012, because he was seen as the weakest Republican candidate in the general election

It is unclear whether the Chamber would try to bolster Steele, Heinz or some other candidate-yet-to-be-named, or would just bash whoever is leading in the primary contest.  The Chamber's ads in the past are usually your stereotypical negative ad (e.g. "the world will end if you support X"), but it occasionally dabbles in positive ads.

As Arizona's Politics reported, McSally was the beneficiary of both last year: the Chamber had Jeb Bush cut a Spanish-language ad praising McSally ($250,000), and spent approximately $350,000 bashing Democratic incumbent Ron Barber.

In that article, Arizona's Politics also slotted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as "as dark as they come" on its #50ShadesOfDarkMoney scale.  The Chamber religiously does not disclose the identities of donors to its $68,000,000+ (in last two cycles) independent expenditure fund.  It ranks as a "50" on the 1-50 (1 being fully open) scale.

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