More money being thrown into the election than ever

Jason Cuevas, News Editor

When the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, it completely changed the way money used in elections. The country is in the midst of the greatest amount of spending ever produced in an election.

According to estimates there will be a total of almost $6 billion spent on the current election. Those in swing states are often unable to go even a single commercial break without seeing a political ad.

The Obama campaign has raised $631 million from individual contributors. $214 million is from small contributions. Romney has raised $384 million with $70 million coming from small contributions. Both candidates continue to hold fundraisers even as the race comes down the final weeks.

What the ruling in the Citizens United case changed was declaring that it was unconstitutional to ban free speech from corporations and unions. This ruling also means that money is equal to speech. Unions and corporations may spend as much as they like in order to support or oppose political candidates. They are supposed to do this independently from the campaign. These new political action committees, often referred to as Super PACs are still banned from working directly with the campaign.

It is very hard to tell how much separation there really is between the campaigns and these super PACs. Restore Our Future which supports Romney and Priorities USA Action both seem to do advertising that goes hand in hand with the campaigns that they support.

Restore Our Future has taken in over $118 million dollars from the current campaign according to the New York Times. They have spent 88 percent of that money on attack ads against President Obama.

The New York Times reports Priorities USA Action has taken in $55 million dollars itself during the election. 100 percent of that money has been spent on attack ads against Romney.

High spending in the election is not just limited to the national race. In Wisconsin both Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson are spending large amount of money. Baldwin has raised over $11 million dollars while Thompson has raised over $7 million. In Wisconsin most of the majority of the money has been from donors and not PACs.

Baldwin has received $875 thousand in PAC support while Thompson has received just over $1 million.