In a campaign email sent out Sunday, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ed Case criticized political rival Mazie Hirono for accepting more than $700,000 from political action committees this election season.
“As my primary opponent floods the airwaves with her paid infomercials in these remaining 20 days, follow the money,” he wrote. “Let’s start with the mostly DC insider special interest PACs and other political committees. They’ve given my opponent over $700,000 in this campaign, and over $2 million, almost a third of all of her contributions, over her career. I’ve received a little over $10,000 in this campaign and only 8 percent over my career.”
Whereas 64 percent of Hirono’s PAC and itemized contributions are from mainland donors, 76 percent of his are from Hawaii donors, he added.
But is that true?
Campaign finance is a hot-button issue largely because it reveals how big-money mainland groups are using money to gain clout in local politics. In his email Case wrote that Hirono could be prone to the “paralyzing grip of DC-centered status quo special interests.”
Case’s email links to The Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org, which compiles data on contributions to federal campaigns.
The CRP’s data also shows that Hirono received more than $2 million from PACs over the course of her career in federal office, roughly 29 percent of all funding. Hirono has represented Hawaii in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2006.
Case received $10,500 from PACs this election cycle. About 8 percent of total funding throughout his political career, or $309,000, came from PACs.
Detailed reports available on the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) website show where the donors of itemized contributions — or those greater than $200 — are located. The latest reports cover the period from April 1 through June 30, and the Senate candidates’ reports are available online. Another search function brings up an electronic database for each candidate, but only through March 31.
Still, reviewing the data as of March 31 in addition to paper reports through June 30 sheds light on where the candidates’ contributions are coming from.
FEC reports show that through March 31 Hirono received about $695,000 — or 30 percent of itemized contributions — from Hawaii-based committees and individuals.
The reports also show that Case received more than $390,000 from Hawaii-based committees and individuals through March 31. That makes up about 75 percent of total itemized contributions.
Just for comparison’s sake, we also looked at Republican senate candidate Linda Lingle‘s contributions. Through June 30, about $596,000 — or 14 percent of her funds — were from PACs. But an analysis of FEC reports through March 31 indicates that only about 30 percent of her total haul, or about $950,000, came from Hawaii-based donors.
BOTTOM LINE: Case wrote that Hirono this election season received more than $700,000 mostly from mainland special interest groups and other political committees. His campaign has received roughly $10,000 from such groups. OpenSecrets.org reveals that Case is right. Hirono collected $706,128 from PACs, while Case brought in $10,500. Case also wrote that 64 percent of Hirono’s PAC and itemized contributions were from mainland donors, noting that three-fourths of his contributions were from Hawaii donors. Analyses of FEC reports through March 31 suggests that Case’s estimates are also correct. We find Case’s statements to be TRUE.
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