Politics Magazine

Outside Money Pouring Into The 2014 Senate Races

Posted on the 01 May 2014 by Jobsanger
Outside Money Pouring Into The 2014 Senate Races
Outside Money Pouring Into The 2014 Senate Races
Thanks to the misguided Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs FEC, huge amounts of money flowed into the 2012 election in both the presidential and senate races. But even more money is flowing into this years senate races from outside sources. By this point in 2012, about 1.982 million had been spent on senate races by outside groups. This year, about 2.238 million has already been spent on senate races by outside groups.
That would be troubling enough, but most of that outside money being spent is "dark money". This is money given in secret, so that the voters cannot know who is giving that money. So far this year, 59% of the money spent on senate races has been given in secret donations -- which means the American people will never know who is providing these millions of dollars to influence our senate elections.
This is just wrong. No matter what you may think of the Citizens United decision, or campaign funding limits, we should all be able to agree that secret donations to influence our elections should never happen. The voters deserve to know who is trying to influence the way we vote. It's bad enough that wealthy billionaires are trying to buy our elections, turning our democracy into a plutocracy (rule by a wealthy class). We should at least be able to know exactly who is doing it.
The charts below show how much money has been spent on senate races this year by all parties -- the candidates themselves, the political parties, and outside groups. Note that while the Democrats have spent more by both candidates and the party, the outside spending for Republican senate candidates dwarfs all other spending (and accounts for nearly double the outside spending for Democratic candidates).
About 68% of the spending to support Republican candidates has been by outside groups, while about 48.5% of spending to support Democratic candidates has been done by outside groups. The Democrats have raised more money than the Republicans this year, but that won't matter much -- since the Republicans are receiving a 2 to 1 edge in outside money being spent on their behalf.
And this is before most of the primaries have been held, and the general election campaign is still a couple of months away. We can expect much more outside money to flow into the senate races once the general election campaigns get under way.
We need to find a way to overturn the terrible Citizens United decision -- even if we must do it through a constitutional amendment. Money is not speech, but the court's treating it as such gives the rich a much bigger voice in our elections than anyone else.
Outside Money Pouring Into The 2014 Senate Races
Outside Money Pouring Into The 2014 Senate Races
These charts were made with information provided by the Wesleyan Media Project.

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