Citizens United Decision Allows Corporations To Make 2010 A Record-Breaking Year In Campaign Spending

campaignmoneyThe 2008 presidential election ushered in an unprecedented amount of campaign spending, with the presidential candidates taking in over $1.7 billion in donations. But, according to new research, corporations and their allies will trounce 2008’s “political spend-a-thon” in the 2010 midterm election season. “Liberated” by the Supreme Court’s recent Citizens United decision, corporations and “well-established political players” will pump in 10 to 15 percent more cash in 2010 to “disrupt” races with more negative ads:

After the astronomical sums of cash thrown into the 2008 campaign, everyone’s pumping in even more — about 10 to 15 percent more— according to Kip Cassino, vice president of research at the media analysis firm Borrell Associates.

“Unlike a lot of industries in the United States right now, which are seeing some downturns, political spending is absolutely a growth industry,” Cassino says.

Fueling it, he says, is corporate money — dollars liberated by the Supreme Court when it ruled that corporations and unions can be unrestrained in their campaign spending.

Cassino says corporate funds probably account for a 10 percent jump in advertising.

And of course, those advertisements are almost always negative.

“The unwritten charter of these groups is to really be disruptive and try to go in there and turn a race on its head — or put a candidate on the defense,” says Evan Tracey, president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising. “And by that nature, most of those ads that they’re gonna run this fall are gonna be negative ads.

The political players looking to up the ante include “big budget groups” like GOP operative Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is “the biggest collection point for corporate contributions.” American Crossroads “committed to raising tens of millions of dollars” while the Chamber will spend $40 million more than 2008 this year and “may go higher.” Along with a 2007 decision backing the Federal Election Commission’s drastic undercutting of disclosure rules, “business and its allies” can continue to support right-wing candidates and “wildly misleading” ads without anyone knowing who is pulling the purse strings.