Spending on US elections reaches $6 billion

By Beth Price

The 2012 US election will not only be the most expensive in US history but the cost will surpass the previous record by over $700 million, according to the Centre of Responsive Politics (CRP).

Previously, the CRP estimated that the election spend would reach $5.8 million but after analysing the Federal Election Commission data, they have further increased their estimate to $6 billion.

This is due to a huge influx of last minute donations from outside, and seemingly independent, organisations – who by November 6th, are expected to have spent $970 million in total.

The presidential election itself is responsible for over a third of the total spending, at $2.6 billion, with the other $3.4 billion being divided up between the House and Senate elections.

The rate at which the spending has grown is record breaking as well. Outside donations from groups has increased from $19 million per week in early September to $33 million per week earlier this month to over $70 million during the week of October 21st.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney has looked to bigger outside groups to help fund his campaign. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has chosen to focus on smaller donations from individuals, currently totalling around $214.3 million.

Speaking about the high levels of spending, the former head of the Federal Election Commission, Michael Toner, said earlier this week, “It’s very healthy in terms of American politics. It’s a symptom of a very vigorous election season, there’s a lot at stake here.”

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