Forum Post: Democratic and Republican Super PACs Expected to Spend Hundreds of Millions of Dollars on Advertising This Year
Posted 11 months ago on June 7, 2012, 7:32 a.m. EST by CaptainTony
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Democratic and Republican Super PACs Expected to Spend Hundreds of Millions of Dollars on Advertising This Year
The 2012 presidential election is almost certain to be the most expensive in history, as the two main candidates set lofty fundraising goals and money floods in to “super PACs,’' independent political committees that have been supercharged by a series of court decisions.
By April it appeared inevitable that neither party’s nominee will accept public funds for the general election or the spending limits that come with them — the likely death knell for a cornerstone of the post-Watergate campaign finance reforms intended to limit the influence of money in federal elections.
Well before then, it had become clear just how deeply the campaign finance landscape has been changed by a 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In the case, a bitterly divided court ruled 5 to 4 that the government may not ban independent political spending by corporations, as well as labor unions and other organizations, in candidate elections.
The decision and subsequent court rulings led to tens of millions of dollars in donations — often by wealthy individuals, of as much as $5 million at a time — to super PACs supporting candidates in the Republican primaries.
By April, when Mitt Romney emerged as the likely Republican nominee, Romney aides and leading donors were preparing a major expansion of the campaign’s fund-raising efforts to prepare for a general election contest against President Obama, with the goal of raising up to $600 million.
And Mr. Obama, who raised $750 million in 2008, is likely to meet or exceed that this year, according to people involved in his fund-raising operation. Mr. Obama opted out of the public financing program in 2008, breaking a campaign pledge, and went on to outspend the Republican nominee, John McCain, by four to one.
In addition, super PACs on both sides are expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising this year and have tested programs more traditionally associated with campaigns, like voter identification and turnout.