Location:
CAMPAIGNS - PUBLIC FINANCING; ELECTIONS;
Scope:
Background;

OLR Research Report


March 29, 2011

 

2011-R-0156

SPENDING BY CITIZENS' ELECTION PROGRAM PARTICIPATING CANDIDATES

By: Terrance Adams, Legislative Analyst II

You asked (1) how much money legislative and statewide office candidates who participated in the Citizens' Election Program (CEP) spent during the 2010 election cycle and (2) for a comparison of their in-state and out-of-state spending.

SUMMARY

According to data the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) provided, CEP candidates spent approximately $29 million during the 2010 election cycle, with at least $19.1 million (roughly 66%) spent in Connecticut. In legislative races, CEP candidates spent approximately $10.1 million, of which about 80% was spent in-state. Statewide CEP candidates spent approximately $18.9 million, of which at least 58% was spent in-state.

Table 1 shows estimated in-state and out-of-state spending by CEP candidates in the 2010 election cycle, broken down by legislative and statewide races. The figures are based on (1) spending reported in the “Itemized Campaign Finance Disclosure Statement” (Form 30) that candidate committees file with the SEEC at specified times during the election cycle, including when they terminate, and (2) additional analysis performed by SEEC (see below).

Table 1: Estimated In-State and Out-of-State Spending by CEP Candidates in 2010 Election Cycle

Election

In-State Spending

Out-of-State Spending

Total

 

Total

Percentage

Total

Percentage

 

House

$4,623,137

80.7%

$1,108,636

19.3%

$5,731,773

Senate

$3,414,678

77.5%

$990,346

22.5%

$4,405,024

Legislative Total

$8,037,815

79.3%

$2,098,982

20.7%

$10,136,797

           

Statewide Offices

$11,034,931

58.4%

$7,867,070

41.6%

$18,902,001

Overall Total

$19,072,746

65.7%

$9,966,052

34.3%

$29,038,798

Source: SEEC

EXPLANATION OF THE DATA

This data is drawn both from statements filed by the candidates with SEEC as well as additional analysis the commission performed in order to more precisely determine the breakdown between in-state and out-of-state spending. SEEC performed this analysis because candidates' filing statements may overstate the amount of funds spent outside of Connecticut, especially with respect to television advertising, which is the largest category of reported out-of-state expenditures.

To advertise on television, candidates typically contract with an advertising agency, which produces the candidate's advertising and then buys the airtime, often with Connecticut media outlets. However, because the advertising agency (and not the candidate) purchases the airtime in Connecticut, it is not accounted for in candidates' filing statements; the entire payment by the candidate to an out-of-state advertising agency is classified as out-of-state.

SEEC's analysis showed that more than half of the funds classified as out-of-state television advertising were actually used to buy airtime on Connecticut television stations. Candidates reported spending approximately $12 million out-of-state for television advertising, but at least $6.7 million of those funds were used to buy airtime on Connecticut television stations. The figures in Table 1 reflect this analysis, but SEEC notes that it was not able to obtain information from all Connecticut television stations, meaning that the amount of money spent in-state may be higher than what is shown in Table 1.

SEEC also noted that some expenditures categorized as out-of-state do not necessarily involve choosing an out-of-state vendor over a Connecticut vendor, but rather involve certain costs such as utility payments, bank fees, Internet charges, or overhead charges where payments are sent to out-of-state billing addresses. SEEC did not perform additional analysis with respect to this expenditure category.

Lastly, SEEC reports that the data may contain a small number of duplicate expenditures because of candidates filing amended reports. The commission notes that these amended reports may slightly alter the dollar figures in Table 1 but should not impact in-state and out-of-state percentages.

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