This week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is airing more than $10 million in advertising in some of the most competitive House and Senate races, the single largest one-week expenditure by a group outside of the national political parties.
A chunk of that money is being spent in Connecticut, against Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. The Democrat is in a tight race against Republican former WWE CEO Linda McMahon.
The chamber is spending $500,000 for an ad targeting Blumenthal as a "sue-first-and-ask-questions-later" attorney general.
It says Blumenthal's tenure as attorney general has forced some of those companies to go out of business while under investigation.
McMahon has spent heavily from her personal fortune on the campaign and said she’d spend up to $50 million out of her own pocket.
Blumenthal has defended his actions as attorney general, saying on his campaign Web site that he has stood “up for the small businesses, workers, and manufacturers whose success is vital to the economy of Connecticut,” “fought pharmaceutical drug companies when they’ve overcharged”, “utilities when they’ve raised rates”, and “big tobacco when they’ve addicted our children.”
In all, the business lobby is targeting Democratic candidates in about 30 contests.
The amount is It represents an escalation in ads by the chamber, which has expressed a goal of spending $75 million in this year's midterm elections.
The boost in spending comes as liberal groups raise questions about the chamber's financial sources. The Center for American Progress and MoveOn.org suggest the trade group could be using foreign money to air the ads, which would be illegal. The chamber denies the claim. It says money raised from foreign corporations is segregated from its political spending.
The chamber is not required to reveal the sources of its money.
Questions about the chamber's foreign money were first raised this week by ThinkProgress, a blog of the liberal Center for American Progress.
Chambers spokeswoman Tita Freeman said, "No foreign money is used to fund political activities."