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    « Scientists Warn Against The Fire Retardant Chemicals Found In Household Items | Main | 2010 Corruption Report For 178 Countries »

    Cost Of 2010 US Elections: Now Heading Towards A Record Breaking $2 Billion

    DC based watchdog, Public Campaign Action Fund (PCAF) is reporting today that the cost of 2010 US midterms is now projected to reach $2 billion. That's an obscene amount of money for any election anywhere in the world. The candidates for the US House of Congress alone are projected to raise and spend more than a billion dollars for the first time in history. Add to that what the Senate candidates are raising and spending, and we're near the $2 billion mark. 

    PCAF today said, "By the end of September, House candidates this election cycle raised 30 percent more and spent 54 percent more money than they had up to the same point in 2008. In 2008, House candidates raised $978 million and spent $938 million over the full election cycle. This year, Public Campaign Action Fund projects that House candidates will raise nearly $1.3 billion and spend more than $1.4 billion, eating into the cash on hand amounts carried from election to election.

    Senate races are also seeing a surge in fundraising and spending. According to a Washington Post prediction, Senate candidates are on pace to raise and spend more than $500 million, placing the combined total between House and Senate candidates nearing $2 billion.

    The analysis also shows an imbalance in fundraising and spending between the major parties. Republican House candidates raised approximately $30 million more than Democrats through the third quarter in 2010. In the 2008 election at this time, the Republicans had raised nearly $64 million less."

    The WaPo (Washington Post) recently reported that 23 firms that received the government bailout have contributed more than a million to the election campaigns, most of which has ironically gone to the Republicans who were vocal critics of the government bailout. Here's an excerpt from the WaPo article: "Companies that received federal bailout money, including some that still owe money to the government, are giving to political candidates with vigor. Among companies with PACs, the 23 that received $1 billion or more in federal money through the Troubled Assets Relief Program gave a total of $1.4 million to candidates in September, up from $466,000 the month before.

    Most of those donations are going to Republican candidates, although the TARP program was approved primarily with Democratic support.Some of the generosity to Republicans can be explained by the expectation that the party will make huge gains in Congress. But another factor is the Democratic Party's push for financial-regulation legislation this year. The new law, which passed the Senate with the votes of three Republicans and all but one Democrat, placed new curbs on banks and introduced a regulator to vet financial products for consumers. Most Republicans, and banks, say the law creates too many new restrictions.

    Scott Talbott, a lobbyist with the Financial Services Roundtable, said another factor could be the tone some Democrats used against financial firms. At one point, Obama called Wall Street executives "fat cats." "The entire industry was painted with a broad brush, and there was dissatisfaction with that," Talbott said. Democrats have been abandoned by individual Wall Street donors as well as corporate PACs, leaving the party without an important source of funding as it fends off aggressive Republican challengers."

    David Donnelly, director of the PCAF’s Campaign Money Watch project said, "Candidates are raising more money in 2010 than ever before, and spending it at a much quicker pace than 2008. With all the attack ads, candidates have to spend more time dialing for dollars and less time talking with voters. They have to feed the beast – the endless raising and spending for campaigns – that is devouring our democracy." He further added, "To only focus on the outside secret money misses the full story of what is happening in races all over the country. Increased fundraising from wealthy donors, coupled with the secret outside money, is putting our elections further into the hands of relatively few Americans. Regardless of the outcome next Tuesday, Congress should come back to Washington and immediately address the problem of special interest money in our elections by passing the Fair Elections Now Act."

    ~ Gauri

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