Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Outside groups spend $37 million and counting on Va political ads
More than half of the political ads invadingVirginians’ airwaves are paid for by out-of-state money.
That’s according to an analysis of TV airtime spending by the non-profit Virginia Public Access Project.
VPAP said outside groups have spent $37 million in the top four TV markets in Virginia — quite the change from 2008, when outside groups spent about $2.3 million, according to a CNN study.
Half of the $37 million comes from groups who don’t disclose their donors, VPAP said.
The enormous boom in third-party political advertising comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which said corporations are essentially people for purposes of free political speech. That freed up companies to pour millions into political activities.
According to VPAP’s analysis, in Virginia more of the outside money is coming from conservative groups than liberal ones, and if you live in the Roanoke media market in Southwest Virginia, you’re more likely to see conservative ads.
In fact, half of all the outside ad spending comes from two groups — Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads — that are both connected to Republican strategist Karl Rove.
VPAP has charts showing the biggest outside donors and the top media markets for advertising; check them out here: http://www.vpap.org/updates/show/1046