March 29, 2017

Special Interests Increase Broadcasts

In the 3rd week of October, there were 88 electioneering communications filings, or special-interest group funded political broadcasts, totaling $19,956,792, according to an analysis of the FEC database. Comparatively in the same week of the previous midterm cycle in 2006, there were 15 filings totaling $1,617,904 – about 12x’s more (1,150%) in 2010 after adjusting for inflation. This sharp increase of electioneering communications in 2010 is a result of a Supreme Court ruling in January that removed contribution limits for special-interest groups on electioneering communications.

Some argue the ruling allows special interests to have an anonymous and out-sized voice, thereby threatening an equal and transparent democratic process. Others reply special interests have a constitutional right to anonymously spend as much as they please on political broadcasts, which a majority of the Supreme Court agrees. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with this new political ability of special interests, the chart below proves the amount of influence from special interests in the first 3 weeks of October in 2010 is almost 7x’s more (684%) than the same period of the last midterm cycle.

Without a doubt, special-interest groups continue to spend more in 2010 than the past.

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