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Candidates Campaign Disclosure Deadline Today

Aired 1/31/12 on KPBS News.

Today is the deadline for candidates running in this year’s elections to disclose how much money they have raised, and where that money came from. But this information tells voters only part of the story.

Candidates jockeying for position know that revealing how much money they’ve raised early in the game is an important part of the political horse race.

But Republican political consultant Tom Shepard said voters need to remember that this year, independent political action committees may outspend the candidates’ campaigns.

“As a result of the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, and the way it’s been interpreted at the state and local level, the independent expenditure committees don’t have the same requirements with regard to disclosure as the candidates’ campaign committees do,“ he said. “It‘s not nearly as easy to discern who’s involved in these races as it was previously.”

This could have a major effect on the TV ads and mailers sent to voters as the election season progresses.

Shepard said people running candidates' campaigns know independent expenditures on behalf of opponents may exceed theirs, and obscure their message. He said nobody knows yet how much independent political action committees will pour into the fray.

Candidate campaign contribution limits are relatively low in San Diego city and county races, Shepard thinks - $500 per individual for the mayor’s race, for example. So the money flowing into independent campaigns may have a disproportionate effect on outcomes this year.

Tom Shepard is running campaigns for a number of Republican candidates in San Diego. His points apply to campaigns for candidates on both sides of the isle.

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