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Citizens United Has Already Doubled the Amount of Outside Spending in Presidential Election Years

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 By Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress | Report
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Election law scholar Rick Hasen offers a truly stunning visual representation of the impact of Citizens United on our elections:

As his chart shows, spending by outside groups seeking to change the result of the 2012 presidential election is just under $90 million — or more than double the amount of outside spending by this point in the 2008 election. This is true, moreover, despite the fact that the 2012 cycle still has nearly eight more months to go, and despite the fact that there is only one contested primary in 2012 while both Democrats and Republicans had a hard-fought primary battle in 2008. As a possible sign of just how far Citizens United may go in injecting big money into the race, outside spending in in congressional election years grew nearly nine times between 2006 and 2010.

Lest there be any doubt, it also appears very unlikely that spending benefiting Democrats will simply cancel out spending benefiting Republicans. Rather, as of January, seventeen of the top twenty donors this cycle were conservatives:

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the editor of ThinkProgress Justice. He received his JD from Duke University and clerked for Judge Eric L. Clay of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. His writings have appeared in a diversity of publications, including the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, the American Prospect and the Yale Law & Policy Review.

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Citizens United Has Already Doubled the Amount of Outside Spending in Presidential Election Years

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 By Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress | Report
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Election law scholar Rick Hasen offers a truly stunning visual representation of the impact of Citizens United on our elections:

As his chart shows, spending by outside groups seeking to change the result of the 2012 presidential election is just under $90 million — or more than double the amount of outside spending by this point in the 2008 election. This is true, moreover, despite the fact that the 2012 cycle still has nearly eight more months to go, and despite the fact that there is only one contested primary in 2012 while both Democrats and Republicans had a hard-fought primary battle in 2008. As a possible sign of just how far Citizens United may go in injecting big money into the race, outside spending in in congressional election years grew nearly nine times between 2006 and 2010.

Lest there be any doubt, it also appears very unlikely that spending benefiting Democrats will simply cancel out spending benefiting Republicans. Rather, as of January, seventeen of the top twenty donors this cycle were conservatives:

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the editor of ThinkProgress Justice. He received his JD from Duke University and clerked for Judge Eric L. Clay of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. His writings have appeared in a diversity of publications, including the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, the American Prospect and the Yale Law & Policy Review.