March 26, 2017

Political Broadcasts in 2010

In a comparison to the previous midterm cycle in 2006, special-interest groups spent almost 500% more on electioneering communications in 2010, according to an analysis of the FEC database. This influx of money is due to a Supreme Court ruling this past January that removed the limitations for special interest groups to provide money for electioneering communications, which are any political broadcasts advocating for the election or defeat of a candidate either 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. The chart below shows the disparity of spending between the 2 months preceding the 2006 election and the 2 months preceding the 2010 election. After an inflation adjustment of 6.8% for 2006-2010, expenses of special-interest groups on political broadcasts are 472% greater in 2010.

Political broadcasts are clearly soaring after the recent Supreme Court decision.

Most importantly, no one knows where this money is coming from. Current campaign finance laws only require the disclosure of the organization that provides the money for electioneering communications, but these organizations are not required to disclose any of their own financial sources. As a result, our current democratic process not only allows unlimited amounts of money from special-interest groups, but also allows such groups to anonymously influence the democratic process. Unsurprisingly, special interests are aware of these democratic flaws and are spending more than ever, as the chart above proves.

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