It’s Raining Money: Midterm Election Breaks Spending Records

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Republicans and Democrats alike have been pouring money into this upcoming Congressional election, and the reasons why are obvious. Democrats have a losing trend during midterm elections, one that their issues and the political environment are making vitally important the party changes this time around. Republicans, for their part, have vastly different lawmaking goals, and a change in the power balance would go a long ways toward attaining them.

Even so, the spending level for this election is reaching record heights, with outside groups specifically providing a great deal of funding for candidate and party campaigns. More than $57 million has been spent so far, more than any election — save the 2012 presidential election — ever before. What’s perhaps more amazing is that despite a good amount of time left for campaigning, groups have already spent over what was spent on the 2000 presidential election in total, which means the final toll could reach even higher levels before this is all over.

So who’s doing all the donating? According to a PBS Newshour interview with Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics, the answer to that is only partially available in light of the Citizens United case. “On the liberal side, in the prior cycle, the most active group was Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action. Others are Patriot Majority, Citizens for Strength and Security,” said Krumholz. “On the conservative side … perhaps one of the most prominent and strongest at this point in the cycle is Americans for Prosperity, along with Freedom Partners, American Encore, 60 Plus Association, and on and on.”

She noted that funding sources for tax-exempt organizations are often unknown, and that “outside politically active nonprofits that have great latitude now following the Citizens United decision allows them to perform many of the same kinds of activities, but under a veil of secrecy, so we really can’t track the flow of money easily,” per PBS.

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