Buying A Voice: League of Conservation Voters

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Many groups that buy television advertising during campaign season are organizations dedicated to one specific cause.

The League of Conservation Voters generally supports Democratic candidates, but their priority is protecting the environment. They have already bought a $1 million ad buy across three states, including Virginia.

In 2012, they have made defending Barack Obama and attacking Senate candidate George Allen their priority.

The League of Conservation Voters first TV ad of the 2012 season attacks an "unnamed" politician — that unnamed politician represents those who vote against measures they claim won't protect clean air.

They get a bit more specific in a web ad that "congratulates" George Allen on being named to their "dirty dozen".

So who are the League of Conservation Voters, and where do they get millions of dollars to invest in TV advertising?

Most of their donors contribute somewhere between $200 and $5,000, and the vast majority of their money has come from sources outside of Virginia.

Their PAC most disclose their donors, and who show where that money goes. So far in 2012, they have filed 13 different independent expenditures for Virginia Senate candidate Timothy Michael Kaine, a total of just under $20,000 to this point.

They also have established a SuperPAC for 2012 which allows them to bring in big donations without much accountability. But their real power could come from a partnership with the Obama endorsed SuperPAC "Priorties USA" which will help fund pro-Obama ads across the country.

While the organization is not afraid to cross party lines for a candidate that shares their views, its rare. In 2010, less than 2% of their money went to Republicans. In 2012, so far every single dollar spent has been in support of Democrats.

You can see both ads that we talk about this piece, and detailed information about where we got our facts, on our political blog, Decision Virginia.