Outside Political Spending Hits $88 Million and Counting

Open Secrets reports that outside groups, generally political parties, corporations and unions, have independently spent $88,868,421 so far in 2014 on the upcoming mid-term elections according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The figures do not require complete or immediate disclosure about who is funding the activity, and they do not account for all the money the groups spent, since certain kinds of political ads are not required to be reported.

Since the January 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commissionindividuals, corporations, and unions are permitted to make any amount of political expenditures directly from their bank, treasury, and other independent organizations, as long as the spending – often in the form of TV ads – is done independently of any candidate.

So far this year the spenders by type are:

  1. Super PACs = $48,074,078
  2. Social Welfare 501(c)(4) = $9,562,382
  3. Trade Associations 501(c)(6) = $12,157,052
  4. Unions 501(c)(5) = $344,573
  5. Political Parties = $6,716,399
  6. Corporations, individual people, other groups, etc) = $12,013,937

Grand Total: $88,868,421

The biggest groups, outside of political parties, are the US Chamber of Commerce ($12,157,052), Senate Majority PAC ($11,067,468), League of Conservation Voters ($3,527,684), House Majority PAC ($3,525,865), and the Club for Growth ($3,349,419).

Total spending by independent groups was only $17 million through May 9th of 2010, shortly after the Supreme Court took off the hand-cuff limits on the amount of independent spending by any individual or group. With over five times the spending already, 2014 is on course to mark the most expensive mid-term election in history.

The author welcomes feedback and will respond to comments by readers.


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