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A GOP Congressman and former FBI agent tells NPR he believes Trump was compromised by Putin. Also on the Monday rundown: a report on how trade wars could be risky business for the whiskey business: and the wealthiest Americans get richer as the wage gap widens.

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Big Texas Green Flowing into Mountain State Campaign

October 27, 2010

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - Unlike water, campaign dollars can flow from the Gulf of Mexico up to West Virginia - like the millions one wealthy Texas real estate magnate put into advertisements against Joe Manchin and other Democrats nationwide.

Bob Perry was a driving force behind the 2004 "swift boat" campaign against Sen. John Kerry. This year, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that opened the door to nearly unlimited campaign contributions, he's given millions to Karl Rove's national political organizations, among others.

Jesse Zwick of the Washington Independent has studied Perry's donations.

"Seven million dollars can definitely go a long way putting up ads in a state. That would almost be, you know, the advertising budget of a really strong seven-week campaign in a state."

More than $10 million has gone into the West Virginia senate race, two-thirds of it from outside groups. The groups behind much of this season's campaign advertising usually present themselves as representing a broad-based group of voters, but Zwick says often, that's not the case.

"A donation from someone like Mr. Perry shows that a lot of groups can advocate that kind of support while, in fact, actually receiving its support from a very relatively small number of donors."

He says ad spending can go even further in small states like West Virginia. He also notes that, while the Swift Boat group was cited by the Federal Election Commission for not properly registering and collecting donations, the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision means big smear campaigns largely funded by a few individuals or corporations are now considered legitimate.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV