Tonight on msnbc's The Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel discussed the record sums of cash being spent by independent conservative groups in this year's presidential and congressional races, some of which will independently contribute more money than the John McCain campaign spent in all of 2008. The unprecedented, unregulated spending is a direct result of the 2009 Citizens United decision.
Politico reported today that groups led by Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are aiming at spending a combined sum of $1 billion by November. In 2008, Barack Obama spent $750 million, a record figure that will be easily surpassed by the upcoming conservative deluge. According to the Politico story, the super PAC spending will usher in a time "unlike anything seen before in American politics."
The major conservative action committees are well known, but in addition to those groups, smaller fundraising committees that are often difficult to identify are also spending tens of millions of dollars. Tonight Rachel spoke with Rep. Bruce Braley, a two-term Iowa Democratic congressman who barely won reelection in 2010 after being the target of vicious attack ads by a shadowy group known as the Center to Protect Patient Rights.
A lengthy LA Times investigation tracked that generically named organization to a lonely post office box north of Phoenix and linked the shady organization to the Koch brothers. In 2010, the center spent more than $55 million in a variety of campaigns in several states, nearly all of which were aimed at defeating Democratic candidates. Protected by the Citizens United ruling, the center is not required to disclose how it is funded.