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Michael Toner Discusses Campaign Finance Money in Kentucky Senate Race

March 26, 2014

Michael E. Toner, co-chair of Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, was quoted by WFPL, the Louisville, KY affiliate of National Public Radio, about the role of campaign money in the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky.

The article describes how U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Alison Lundergan Grimes, his Democratic challenger, have differing opinions on the role of money in elections.  While Sen. McConnell wants to loosen campaign finance restrictions, Ms. Grimes has pushed for stricter rules.  The race is expected to cost more than $100 million, making it the most expensive U.S. Senate race in history, according to the article. 

But Mr. Toner said that even though a candidate might outspend his or her opponent, it doesn’t guarantee a victory at the polls.  “One reason the federal courts over the years have not found a corruption threat at the independent spending is that sometimes it's not that effective in directly advancing a candidate's interest,” he said.

“A lot of candidates who spend more money than their opponents whether out of their own pocket or let’s say supported by major outside groups, their track record in winning elections is not that good, to be honest,” Mr. Toner said.  “We’ve seen a lot of multi-millionaire candidates who are defeated in various races.  Now to be sure, some are also elected, but by no means is the candidate with the most money spent on their behalf assured of being elected.”

Click here to read the entire article.