Two anonymous conservative groups are dominating outside spending for the campaign cycle, easily outpacing so-called “super PACs” that are required to disclose donors.
The Karl Rove-connected Crossroads GPS and Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity, two nonprofit “political charities,” have spent more money on 2012 election ads than all other super PACs combined, according to a report by Pro Publica. Their heavy spending means the election is deluged with ads whose backers are completely unknown to voters.
The two groups, incorporated as 501(c)(4) organizations, have spent $60 million so far. Combined with other conservative 501(c)(4)s, they have spent $70 million on TV advertising, compared with just $1.6 million by similar groups on the left. Wealthy conservative donors have pledged to spend as much as $1 billion overall this election cycle on outside organizations.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.