New WRAL Documentary Examines Impact of Mystery Donors in Political Campaigns

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“Who Are You?”
New WRAL Documentary Examines Impact of Mystery Donors in Political Campaigns

Airs Thursday January 20, 2011, 7pm

Bob Etheridge “Who Are You?”  It’s what former Congressman Bob Etheridge asked in that infamous viral video during his 2010 campaign. It’s also the question he and many others are asking now about donors to a mysterious organization that helped defeat him.

A new WRAL documentary “Who Are You?” examines Etheridge’s race with challenger Renee Ellmers and how she and other political candidates benefited from anonymous donations funneled through non-profit advocacy groups. The documentary airs Thursday, January 20 at 7pm on WRAL-TV and is hosted by WRAL News anchor David Crabtree.

The viral “Who Are You?” video last summer was the turning point in what had otherwise been a sleeper of a race between Etheridge and Ellmers.  Suddenly the race got the national media attention it had lacked and donations to Ellmers’ campaign picked up.

Some of that support came from an organization called Americans for Job Security, which spent $360,000 on TV ads and other materials attacking Etheridge. 

The spending was made possible by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on January 21, 2010 that allows corporations to anonymously donate unlimited amounts of money to third-party groups like AJS to support or oppose candidates. 

The court majority said such donations amount to free speech, but many say the ruling undermines our democracy by giving special interest groups more power to influence elections than individual voters.

The WRAL documentary Who Are You? examines the Etheridge-Ellmers race, how the race illustrates the impact of the controversial Supreme Court ruling and what it all means for future elections in North Carolina.

Watch the video preview here: http://www.wral.com/news/local/documentaries/

After airing on television, all WRAL documentaries are available for on demand viewing online at the link above.

Statewide television schedule:

  • WRAL-TV          January 20, 7:00pm
  • WILM-TV           January 20, 7:00pm
  • WMYT-TV         January 23, 8:00pm
  • WJZY-TV          January 23, 10:35pm
  • WRAZ-TV          January 22, 10:35pm

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Debbie Tullos for this capcom story.

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