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HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- Health Insurer's Secret Campaign Donations

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The health insurer Aetna accidentally disclosed contributions it made to two political powerhouse groups that do not disclose their donors to the public. According to a release from Citizens for Responsibility in Washington, "Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to Mark T. Bertolini, chairman, CEO, and president of the insurance giant Aetna, asking his company to stop using corporate funds to influence elections. This request follows anSNL Financial story revealing that Aetna has contributed more than $3.3 million to the American Action Network (AAN) and nearly $4.5 million to the Chamber of Commerce. AAN is a shadowy 501(c)(4) organization that broke both tax and campaign finance laws in its quest to influence the 2010 elections, and the Chamber is one of the biggest political players. While corporations traditionally pay dues to the Chamber, in 2010 Aetna reported dues of just $100,000 – almost $4.4 million less than Aetna contributed to the Chamber in 2011. These payments indicate Aetna surreptitiously has spent well over $7 million to influence Americans at the polls."

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Laurence Tribe writes in Slate to lay out his version of a constitutional amendment to address money in politics.

Tony Corrado writes in a New York Times Room for Debate conversation about the 40th anniversary of Watergate that the campaign finance system built up in response to the abuses revealed by the scandal has largely eroded.

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TRACKING INDEPENDENT SPENDING:

These numbers represent spending by independent groups, like super PACs and non-profits, to support or oppose a particular candidate in 2012. Fundrace will update this spending daily to help show which candidates are gaining from the proliferation of independent groups in this coming election.

Presidential Race:
Mitt Romney (R), $7,327,516 to support, $16,488,271 to oppose. (Oppose: +$393,357)
Barack Obama (D), $509,622 to support, $1,659,846 to oppose. (Oppose: +$13,799)

Most Outside Spending for Congressional Candidates:
TX-Senate: Ted Cruz (R), $838,270 to support, $2,301,676 to oppose.
TX-Senate: David Dewhurst (R), $501,126 to support, $2,481,715 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Richard Mourdock (R), $1,442,961 to support, $634,899 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Dick Lugar (R), $208,628 to support, $1,671,841 to oppose.
OR-01: Rob Cornilles (R), $98,051 to support, $1,219,148 to oppose.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

Defenders of Wildlife Action Committee, $261,459 to oppose Heather Wilson for Senate in New Mexico.
Majority PAC, $67,243 to oppose Rick Berg for Senate in North Dakota.
National Right to Life Victory Fund, $13,369 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
Priorities USA Action, $393,357 to oppose Mitt Romney for President.
Texas Conservatives Fund, $24,144 to oppose Ted Cruz for Senate in Texas.
American Action Network, $4,175 to support Jesse Kelly for Congress in Arizona's 8th District.
American Crossroads, $179,736 to oppose Shelley Berkley for Senate in Nevada.
American Crossroads, $370,449 to oppose Tim Kaine for Senate in Virginia.
American Crossroads, $139,783 to oppose Bob Kerrey for Senate in Nebraska.
American Crossroads, $118,593 to support Heather Wilson for Senate in New Mexico.
Patriot Majority USA, $180,825 to oppose Dean Heller for Senate in Nevada.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $616 to oppose Charles Rangel for Congress in New York's 13th District.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Coastal Securities Inc Federal PAC, Houston, Texas, Treasurer: Brian Folk.

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