The Defenders of Wildlife spent $1.3 million dollars to defeat Marilyn Musgrave. Musgrave represented the 4th District of Colorado, a largely poor rural district with a total population of just over 600,000. The Defenders of Wildlife’s expenditures alone turned out to nearly match the amount Musgrave was able to raise as direct contributions, and were almost double her opponent Betsy Markey’s direct fund-raising.
This is, I think, a telling example. When Musgrave was targeted by a member of the environmental activism industry with deep pockets, she was immediately at a significant disadvantage, even though Musgrave had a nearly 2 to 1 advantage in direct fund-raising.
Of course, the implications for political power are obvious: after Defenders of Wildlife spent nearly twice as much on defeating her opponent as Markey was able to collect in contributions from her constituents, you can bet that when Defenders of Wildlife calls, Markey will answer the phone.
Now, extend this over the whole of Congress. If you’re the target of the environmental activism industry, every campaign becomes a national campaign, with comparatively unlimited resources available to your opponent.
This is power. It will be a rare politician, from a very safe seat, who will dare to defy the activism industry.