Thanks to Citizens United, Multinational Mega Lobbyist Firm Salivates Over $4 Billion in Campaign Cash
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The $4 billion political spending figure he cited in his investor presentation might even be conservative. Some estimates peg the number at $5.6 billion or more. And those numbers only estimate overt candidate-related spending. The fossil fuel industry, health care industry, and other major groups are sure to spend billions in "issue" advertising -- those seemingly benign ads that have someone standing next to an oil refinery, saying that oil companies love investing in innovation and science. Those ads, which should count as lobbying or political media, are never disclosed with the Federal Election Commission, yet are targeted carefully in districts for politicians wavering on important votes.
Will 2012 be the biggest election ever sold?
Already, the New York Times reports that in South Carolina, nearly every ad spot available on local television has been purchased before the primary. Facing few prospects of open air time, Rick Santorum's campaign has been forced to purchase ads during television shows that regularly lampoon him, like NBC's Saturday Night Live.
And with the rise of clandestine SuperPACs and related 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) attack ad groups, lobbyists have a new avenue for exerting influence. Next week, Americans for Prosperity -- a 501(c)(4) that does not disclose any of its donors, but was founded and financed in part by the billionaire Koch brothers -- plans to air a $6 million dollar volley of attack ads against President Obama.
Voters are confused and cynical because of the ads; and reporters are increasingly frustrated with the lack of transparency with many of these groups empowered by the Supreme Court's decision to unleash corporate money in American elections. But for lobbying conglomerates like the WPP Group, there is something to look forward to in this year's political spending bonanza.