Outside Campaign Spending Surpasses 2008…With 8 Weeks to Go

Monday, September 10, 2012

Super PACs and other so-called “independent” political groups have spent so much money on this year’s election, they have already matched the entire total for 2008, with still 10 weeks to go.


Spending by outside groups totaled $306.2 million as of September 5, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In comparison, such groups blew $301.6 million on the entire 2008 election.


Even at that, the current figure of $306.2 million is conservative, because it is based on reports from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The FEC does not bother to track spending by political nonprofit organizations 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary, which is exactly when the most spending occurs.


OpenSecrets.org estimates such groups are allocating “tens of millions of dollars this cycle,” so the real total is most likely much higher than $306 million.


Before 2010, liberal outside groups consistently outspent conservative ones, but this trend has been massively reversed. So far this year conservative groups have outspent their liberal counterparts by $240 million to barely $60 million.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Ten Weeks Out From Election Day, Outside Spending Passes 2008 Total (by Evan Mackinder, OpenSecrets.org)

Total Liberal vs. Conservative Outside Spending, Excluding Party Committees (OpenSecrets.org)

Forget Super PACs; Big Campaign Financing is Coming from “Social Welfare” Nonprofits (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Mitt Romney in the Vanguard of the New World of Super PAC Campaigning (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

IRS Clashes with Conservative Campaign Groups Claiming Non-Profit Status (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Pro-Romney Super PAC Spent More in Florida than McCain’s Entire 2008 Primary Ad Budget (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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