Unknown donors and big-monied, outside groups are pouring record amounts of cash into key Senate races set to determine which political party will take control over the upper house come November’s election, according to a new report published Tuesday by the Brennan Center for Justice.
The report, Election Spending 2014: 9 Toss-Up Senate Races (pdf), found that outside spending by undisclosed “dark money” groups is on track to “shatter previous records.” According to newly-released data from the Federal Elections Commission, of the nine hotly-contested senate races this year—Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, and North Carolina—all but one is expected to beat the previous record for most outside money spent in a senate race, $52.4 million in Virginia in 2012.
The most expensive race in terms of overall spending, North Carolina at $64.8 million, is set to beat the record “several times over.”
“[We]ak campaign finance laws and Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United have made possible new means of pumping money into elections while avoiding regulation or scrutiny,” said report author Ian Vandewalker. “These tactics are gradually becoming the national norm, and give wealthy spenders more power than ever to buy influence over our political process and elected officials.”
According to the nonpartisan law and policy center at the New York University School of Law, nonparty outside spending through September 30 amounts to $158.6 million in these nine most competitive races. “Outside groups have spent at a furious rate,” the authors note, especially when compared with the $97 million spent on all 37 contests in the 2010 midterms.
While the biggest spender overall is a Democratic-aligned Super PAC, the Senate Majority PAC at $29,083,280, the report found that outside spending in favor of Republicans is much more likely to be dark money, which thus far make up 80 percent of nonparty outside expenditures.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT