Money will be a big story leading into Election Day – so much so that
the Associated Press Managing Editors association has decided to make
tracking election spending this year's APME national reporting project.
kicked off the project in July and August with five free webinars on
campaign finance by The Associated Press and the Sunlight Foundation
that attracted dozens of reporters and editors from across the country.
Now we are entering the next phase of the project, and we need your
help. We are gathering examples uncovered by APME member newspapers for a
national story following the money that special interests are spending
to try to sway voters,particularly outside spending on TV adsdue in part
to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.
project will track outside money pouring into state and congressional
races and show readers what the spenders want to achieve in Washington
or the states. We plan a national story in October based on what APME
member newspapers are seeing in their communities and states. All AP
member newspapers are invited to take part.
It's easy to
contribute: When you run a story about outside spending on TV ads or
other election activities in your area, e-mail a copy to Associated
Press reporter Sharon Theimer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your stories will be posted in a special section of the APME website
devoted to the project and will provide material for the national story.
Please send your stories to Sharon by the close of business Monday, Oct. 4.
Here are questions we hope your contributions and the national story will answer:
Is Citizens United leading to an onslaught of corporate, union and
interest group ads in the contested state and congressional races you're
covering, or not?
_ How difficult is it to track the sources of
the ad spending? Are corporations, interest groups and other outside
spenders disclosing the donors whose money was used for the ads, or not?
Are those airing the ads household names or new groups?
outside spenders devoting their money to the air war – TV and radio ads –
or the ground game, focusing on reaching voters individually through
direct mail, phone calls and door-to-door visits to try to get out the
vote, or both?
_ What do the interests behind the ads and
get-out-the-vote efforts hope to get from Congress or state government?
What are they lobbying on?
APME member newspapers will be covering every contested state, House
and Senate race in the country, and ourgoal is to use what they are
seeing toprovide readers with a collective picture of election spending
more comprehensive than they can find anywhere else. We hope you will
take part.If you have any questions, please contact APME Secretary Bob
Heisse at email@example.com or (814) 231-4640 or AP reporter Sharon Theimer at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (202) 641-9466.APME member newspapers are also invited to join a
special listserv focusing on campaign finance coverage and the reporting
project. Please contact Sharon if you would like to join. Thank you for