Almost $465m of outside money has been spent on the US presidential election campaign so far, including $365m that can be attributed to the supreme court’s landmark Citizens United ruling, according to a report released on Monday.
Super Pacs, which came into effect following the 2010 Citizens United verdict, accounted for $272m of the expenditure in the study, conducted by the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit organisation devoted to increasing transparency in government.
A further $93m has been spent by corporations, trade associations and non-profits which, according to the supreme court’s decision, are able to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigning without disclosing the source of their funds.
“This cycle’s outside spending mostly comes in the form of ‘independent expenditures’ supporting or opposing political candidates by unions, corporations, trade associations, non-profit groups and Super Pacs,” wrote Kathy Kiely, managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation.
“This money enabled outside groups to run shadow campaigns for or against candidates of their choice.”
“A deeper dive into the data shows that the latest uptick in outside spending is focused on congressional races: even in presidential battleground states, almost all the spending by outside groups is focused on House and Senate candidates,” Kiely wrote.