After a Supreme Court ruling in January, there is no longer a limit for how much special-interest groups can contribute to electioneering communications, which are special-interest group funded political broadcasts either 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. In the 4th week of October, there were 2.5x’s more (254%) electioneering communications than the same period of the previous midterm cycle in 2006, according to an analysis of the FEC database. Each week of October 2010 has been greater than the same week of the previous midterm cycle in 2006, as the chart below shows, which accumulates to October 1-28th of 2010 being nearly 6x’s greater (596%) than the same period in 2006. Undoubtedly, within the realm of political broadcasts, special-interest groups have more influence than ever before.
In regards to the specific statistics for the 4th week of October, the total for 2010 is $6,421,581 in 25 different filings, whereas the total for 2006 is $2,353,993 in 19 filings. After adjusting for inflation, which is currently 6.8% from 2006 to 2010, the level of spending is about 2.5x’s more in 2010, as mentioned above. Additionally, notice how the number of filings in the 4th week of 2010 are similar to the number of filings in 2006, respectively 25 and 19. This points to another trend in 2010 – the average cost of each filing, which refers to the geographic area where the broadcasts air, is $268,213 in October 2010, whereas the average cost of each filing is $150,693 in October 2006.
Not only have the number of political broadcasts from special-interests groups increased in 2010, but the amount invested into each broadcast has also risen.