Hypocrisy United

Murphy blasts outside spending while benefiting from it

Murphy, McMahon / WC
October 22, 2012

Rep. Christopher Murphy (D., Conn.), who has said he opposes the 2010 Citizens United ruling because it "corrupts our democracy," has relied heavily on spending by outside, anonymously funded groups in his campaign to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I., Conn.).

Murphy criticized  his Republican opponent Linda McMahon’s support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, which allows unlimited political spending by corporations and unions, during their most recent debate.

McMahon has said she supported the ruling, saying campaign finance is a First Amendment issue.

Murphy, though, insists that big corporate spending "corrupts our democracy" and is out of step with Connecticut.

However, the Washington Free Beacon has found that unions and corporations are spending heavily in support of Murphy.

"This is another example of Congressman Murphy’s bait and switch tactics," said Todd Abrajano, McMahon’s campaign communications director. "It’s reprehensible that Chris Murphy will say one thing in the debate with respect to campaign finance law and then turn around and accept millions of dollars in outside spending on his behalf."

Emails and phone calls to the Murphy campaign requesting comment were not returned.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Murphy campaign raised $5.6 million in 18 months in the 2011 to 2012 election cycle, compared with McMahon’s $14.1 million during the same period.

But Murphy's contributions picked up in the third quarter, with an additional $3 million flowing into his coffers, according to the campaign.

Murphy needs the money to counteract McMahon’s deep pockets: The former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment has loaned her campaign more than $27 million.

A review of FEC filings shows a recent surge in outside spending in the Nutmeg State, with progressive, union, and left-wing groups increasing their spending.

The American Federation of State, County/Municipal Employees has spent $259,000 to help Murphy, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has spent $133,220.

The SEIU is also spending $128,000 for a 60-second ad in Spanish that will run from now until Election Day. The ad depicts two friends discussing McMahon, who they say will eliminate the Department of Education and end programs such as Pell Grants, student loans, and Head Start.

The SEIU ad charges that McMahon wants to give additional tax breaks and giveaways to millionaires like herself.

The Free Beacon found another example of outside spending for Murphy by the Working for Us PAC. That group is spending more than $180,000 to have neighborhoods canvased, and more than $18,000 for door hangers in favor of Murphy.

Contributions to the Murphy campaign have poured in from progressive and left wing groups.

PACs and Super PACs affiliated with Democratic politicians also have been heavy hitters in this race, records show. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent $2.7 million; Majority PAC has spent over $2 million a $1 million increase in a week; and Connecticut’s Future PAC has spent over $180,000.

That is not surprising to David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics.

"It’s pretty much what you would expect," Keating said. "Progressive groups tend to like candidates like Murphy."

Here is a partial list of other political action committees that have contributed to the Murphy campaign:

Forward Together:  $10,000

NARAL Pro-Choice America: $10,000

League of Conservation Voters: $4,500

UNITE HERE:  $15,000

Campaign for Change: $5,000

A New Direction: $2,000

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare: $7,000

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s DANPAC: $10,000

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s PAC For a Change: $10,000

Laborers Union: $7,500

International Association of Firefighters: $10,000

Green Mountain: $5,000

Pakistani American Physicians: $1,000

Other progressive and left-leaning groups, such as, Daily Kos, Progressives United, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, all held online fundraising campaigns for Murphy using ActBlue, a major fundraising PAC that allows anyone to create a fundraising page for Democrats.