WASHINGTON — Accelerating spending by outside groups in the final weeks of the 2012 campaign will drive total spending on federal elections this cycle to a record $6 billion, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan research group Center for Responsive Politics.
That tops the record set in 2008 by $700 million, making this campaign the most expensive in U.S history.
The major force behind the spending: hundreds of super PACs and advocacy groups, which proliferated after a series of federal court rulings in 2010 lifted the ban on corporate political activity and permitted wealthy donors to pool unlimited sums of money for election spending.
As of Wednesday afternoon, outside groups had reported spending more than $892 million on TV ads and other forms of voter contact.
In all, CRP estimates that expenditures by outside groups will reach more than $970 million this election. That’s more than three times the previous record of $301 million in 2008.
Overall, spending on this year’s presidential campaign is expected to be $2.6 billion, down slightly from $2.8 billion in 2008, when both parties had contested primaries.
Distributed by MCT Information Services