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McClatchy: Campaign Cash, Mostly Conservative, Soars Past $250 Million

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The floodgates have opened.

Thanks to the Citizens United decision, there's been a sharp, skyrocketing rise in highly-partisan spending from independent groups, most of them conservative, McClatchy reports today based on numbers from the Center for Responsive Politics. "Outside" spending has topped $257 million--shattering records from the last midterm electsions--with a week left to go before voters head to the polls.

And in this case, conservative groups are outspending liberal groups 2 to 1. Some of the most profligate spenders on the eight wing are two Karl Rove crony groups called American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policy strategies. According to the numbers: "Among outside independent groups, the conservative American Action Network is the top spender so far, at $22.7 million, followed by American Crossroads, at $18 million, and Crossroads GPS, at $11.5 million."

On the left, Unions like the SEIU are also spending heavily.

The dramatic uptick, of course, comes thanks to the Supreme Court.

The 2010 spending spree is shattering records thanks partly to an unusually competitive year when control of Congress appears up for grabs, but largely due to the Supreme Court's ruling last January in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

As a result, viewers and voters are being inundated with ad after ad from supposedly impartial groups smearing politicians running for office. And that's a potential problem. As McClatchy's David Lightman writes:

The other question that the spending barrage raises is whether voters are being badly misinformed, confused by the barrage of charges and countercharges and uncertain whom the groups with haughty-sounding names represent.

Read more, plus see charts documenting who's spending where, at McClatchy.

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