Big-dollar donations from outside groups and the national party dried up for Representative Todd Akin after his heinous remarks about “legitimate rape.” But now, with only days before the election, the faucet has suddenly been turned back on. And thanks to our opaque campaign finance system, we don’t know who is behind the late money—and it seems quite likely the groups who publicly swore off supporting Akin have reversed their stance.
Yesterday, a group called Now or Never Political Action Committee announced it would dump $800,000 into the race on behalf of Akin, while Akin’s campaign and the Missouri Republican Party announced a $700,000 ad-buy for the final stretch.
This additional $1.5 million is truly notable because it dwarfs the support Akin has seen so far—as we noted recently, the outside groups that stood by Akin have been doing so with much smaller contributions. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund has spent $114,773 on an e-mail campaign and also raised $390,000 from members, which it donated to Akin's campaign, according to Matt Hoskins, the group's executive director.* Freedom’s Defense Fund, the only Super PAC to really get behind Akin since his remarks, kicked in $201,562 to date. So this is a significant late push.
At the surface level, the late push seems rather innocuous—that, indeed, the national party and big outside groups like Crossroads GPS are still sticking by their word not to support Akin.
But a closer look reveals that these very groups are probably coming to Akin’s defense through back doors. Reporters quickly noted that Akin’s campaign and the state GOP probably don’t have the money on hand to make a $700,000 ad buy, since combined they declared about that much money at the October 17 FEC filing deadline, and have been spending quite a bit since.
That means they either raised a heck of a lot of money in two weeks—possible, but unlikely, and not consistent with what the Akin campaign has been saying it raised—or, they are getting support from the national party. Legally, only national committees can lend that support to Akin’s campaign and the state party.
The Republican National Committee has denied it, leaving the NRSC as the only suspect—and it suspiciously refuses to comment about whether it is indeed the source of the money. (Remember, the NRSC floated the idea of supporting Akin in late September, but NRSC chairman Senator John Cornyn then went on the record and ruled it out again).