Twelve years after the Supreme Court decided to allow corporations and the wealthy to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections, outside groups have broken their record for the highest amount ever spent on a midterm election — with weeks to go until Election Day.
According to OpenSecretsOutside groups have spent more money on this election cycle than ever before in a midterm election, breaking the 2018 record. As of Friday, outside spending — the vast majority of which comes from dark money groups — reached roughly $1.34 billion, topping 2018’s record of $1.32 billion.
OpenSecrets points out that there are still 25 days before Friday’s election, which means that spending will increase rapidly as Election Day nears. If this trend continues, outside spending could surpass that of outside groups in 2020. This is despite the fact that presidential election cycles often see more spending than midterm elections.
The report shows that Republican-aligned groups have been among the biggest spenders this cycle. The GOP’s Senate Leadership Fund and the Congressional Leadership Fund, which support Republicans’ Senate and House races, respectively, have collectively spent $259 million so far. This is far more than the amount that the Democrats’ two main congressional funds have spent, at about $107 million.
Senate races in Pennsylvania (Georgia, Nevada, Wisconsin) have seen the highest outside spending with tens to millions of dollars going into each race. These races are crucial because Republicans would have the majority if they could control one more seat. Democrats are currently projectedTo maintain control over the Senate FiveThirtyEight finds.
Outside spending, or spending that comes from groups that aren’t officially affiliated with particular candidates, has sharply risen in every election cycle since the Supreme Court handed down Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission2010 That decision has been criticized as one of the largest drivers of the growing amount of influence that corporations and the wealthy can have over elections — influence that is often completely anonymous.
While both major parties profit from dark money, outside spending and other spending, progressive and leftist candidate are often targeted. Progressive candidates can either oppose the deep-pocketed groups that fund outside groups, or refuse to take money from these groups to show their loyalty to voters.
For instance, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has been a significant force. against progressive candidatesAcross the country, millions are spent on attacking candidates like Summer Lee in PennsylvaniaThis election cycle, Nida Allam was in North Carolina.
Democrats have been working hard to make political spending transparenter. Last month, Democratic senators Tried to passA bill that required dark money donors to disclose their identities if they gave $10,000 or more during an election cycle was defeated. This was to either dissuade donors or expose their identities to voters. The bill was defeated 49 to 49 by Republicans.
The Democrats’ For the People Act, which passed the House last year, would have implemented this disclosure requirement and had a sectionThis page is dedicated to undoing some of these effects Citizens Unitedhad on the political system, such as creating a public funding system that would allow the working classes to contribute financially to candidates they choose. Republicans and conservative Democrats in the Senate oppose the For the People Act.