Money in Politics

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Recent polling shows that many Americans in both political parties agree that it’s a serious problem. But while they are unhappy with the influx of big money donors into elections made possible by the Citizens United ruling, they also seem pessimistic about changing the system. Still, some have made this a top priority, claiming that meaningful campaign finance reform is essential to a healthy democracy.

GUESTS:

Last week we examined the campaign money landscape in the New Hampshire Primary, both how candidates are raising money in the state, and how they're spending it.

But what do those dollars mean against the national campaign fundraising picture?

Presidential candidates boosted their spending in New Hampshire this summer, spending nearly six times as much as they did in the previous three month period.

The Republican and Democratic candidates doled out nearly $2 million across the state from July to September. The vast majority of that cash, however, went to a small handful of Republican operatives and consultants -- and the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Turn on the television in New Hampshire these days, and you won’t have to wait long before Jeb Bush, John Kasich or Chris Christie pops up on your screen. 

Credit Kinder Morgan / http://www.kindermorgan.com/content/docs/TGP_Northeast_Energy_Direct_Fact_Sheet.pdf

It's one of the more, shall we say, parochial questions presidential candidates have faced on the campaign trail this year: What do you think of the proposed gas pipeline that may be routed through New Hampshire?

The pipeline is officially known as the Northeast Energy Direct Project.  And the question of whether it should run through the southern part of the state has been posed to a number of both Republicans and Democrats, including Jeb Bush. 

Republican donors in New Hampshire are beginning to loosen their purse strings for their party’s primary contenders.

Granite Staters contributed more than $220,000 to GOP presidential candidates in the third quarter of 2015. That’s $70,000 more than Democrats took in, and a big change from earlier in the year, when Republican candidates were out-raised in New Hampshire by a two-to-one margin.

Political candidates send lots of emails as the end of a fundraising quarter approaches. New Hampshire Congressman Frank Guinta is no exception – though there’s a bit more to his story than what’s in the message.

Craig: Elen Nivrae via Wikicommons/CC; Sanders: Chris Jensen, NHPR

Here’s an unusual question to ask during presidential primary season: What does Daniel Craig, the actor who plays James Bond, have to do with Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders?

Jason Moon for NHPR

Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig became the latest candidate to enter the Democratic side of the 2016 presidential campaign today. Unlike other candidates in the race, he is running on a single issue: getting big money out of politics.

N.H.'s Civic Health Could Use a Boost

Jul 30, 2015
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As hosts of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, Granite Staters often claim a reputation for political sophistication and civic engagement. But a new report finds that relatively few residents are politically involved and, when Election Day rolls around, they are more likely to accept the status quo and stay home rather than cast a ballot.  

When it comes to 2016 presidential campaign spending in New Hampshire, there’s one clear winner so far: The state Democratic Party. 

Roughly 30 percent of total candidate spending in New Hampshire so far this year has gone to the state party, and it came as a single, $100,000 expense: Hillary Clinton’s purchase of the party’s so-called "voter file." 

NHPR's recent interactive map showing how Granite Staters are donating to the 2016 presidential candidates is a unique visual guide to campaign fundraising.

On first glance, a couple of obvious geographic partisan disparities jump out. For instance, Republican donors are heavily concentrated in southern Hillsborough County and Rockingham County. There's also a pocket of Republican donors in the Lakes Region.

Nearly two thirds of the contributions from New Hampshire residents to presidential candidates since January went to Democrats, with Hillary Clinton collecting more from Granite Staters than all the Republicans combined.

At campaign events, house parties and town hall meetings across the state, presidential contenders are being met by potential voters who want to know what they plan to do about the role of money in politics.

And the candidates aren’t shying away from the question.

Democrats have taken aim at Citizens United, the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that struck down limits on independent expenditures by corporations and unions.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

If you’re hoping to follow the money in the 2016 presidential primary race, you’ve got a tough task. The fundraising tools available to candidates and their supporters are perhaps more complicated now than in any previous campaign. You've got your political actions committees (or PACs), your super PACs, your exploratory committees, your run-of-the-mill candidate committees, and countless other groups throwing their 2 (billion) cents into the 2016 presidential race.

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