Monday, March 12, 2012

Citizens United Has Already Doubled The Amount Of Outside Spending In Presidential Election Years

By Ian Millhiser/Think Progress

Election law scholar Rick Hasen offers a truly stunning visual representation of the impact ofCitizens United on our elections:
As his chart shows, spending by outside groups seeking to change the result of the 2012 presidential election is just under $90 million — or more than double the amount of outside spending during the entire 2008 election. This is true, moreover, despite the fact that the 2012 cycle still has nearly eight more months to go, and despite the fact that there is only one contested primary in 2012 while both Democrats and Republicans had a hard-fought primary battle in 2008. As a possible sign of just how far Citizens United may go in injecting big money into the race, outside spending in in congressional election years grew nearly nine times between 2006 and 2010.
Lest there be any doubt, it also appears very unlikely that spending benefiting Democrats will simply cancel out spending benefiting Republicans. Rather, as of January, seventeen of the top twenty donors this cycle were conservatives:
Professor Hasen emailed ThinkProgress and pointed out that this data measures total spending through March 8 in each election cycle, not through the entire election cycle. We have struck an erroneous part of one sentence.
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