Email date: 8/3/11
In this update:
1. Recall election spending enters outer stratosphere
2. Citizens United affiliate jumps into senate recall fray
3. WANTED: A totally new approach to election financing
Recall election spending enters outer stratosphere
No sooner than stories like this one and this one and this one are told, and the numbers that are reported for spending in the senate recall elections are outdated. As of early this afternoon, 29 registered interest groups have reported spending more than $12.5 million to influence the recall elections. Based on what is known about the extent of campaign advertising being sponsored by unregistered groups that do not report their spending, that undisclosed activity has equaled or slightly exceeded the amount spent by registered groups. That means overall campaign spending by outside interest groups is in the vicinity of $25 million. Candidates in the recall elections have reported raising over $6.5 million and have spent nearly $5.1 million so far.
To put interest group spending in perspective, registered groups reported spending $3.75 million in state senate and assembly races in the hypercompetitive 2010 elections. Both houses were controlled by the Democrats but were up for grabs and ultimately flipped to Republican control. Yet interest groups already have reported spending more than three times as much on the nine senate recall elections.
Despite raising record sums of money, candidates in the recall elections are being outspent by interest groups by roughly a 5-to-1 margin. Two candidates — Republicans Alberta Darling and Dan Kapanke — already have surpassed the previous record for spending by an individual state senate candidate.
Citizens United affiliate jumps into senate recall fray
The impact of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission allowing unlimited election spending by corporations and other interest groups is on prominent display in this summer’s recall elections in Wisconsin. So perhaps it’s only fitting that an affiliate of the national group best known for the infamous court case bearing its name is among the more than 50 groups trying to sway voters in the recall contests. For more on this, go here.
WANTED: A totally new approach to election financing
If this summer’s recall elections have made anything clear, it’s that election financing is in serious need of some major paradigm shifting. That’s the point of our latest Big Money Blog.