October 15, 2010

What’s $200 Million Among Friends?

By CREW Staff

Money might not grow on trees, but it starting to seem like political ads do. With a little more than two weeks to go until the election, we're seeing an unprecedented number of ads flooding our airwaves, trying to convince us that one candidate is better than the other.

According to a new study released today by the Wesleyan Media Project, more than $198 million has been poured into ads for federal races in just the PAST 5 WEEKS.

Think about that for a second. $198 million is almost exactly what the Federal Highway Administration allocated to the state of Maine in 2009 (five other states didn't even get that much). With $198 million, the Los Angeles Police Department could hire 4,400 new officers, or the money could have provided a week's worth of free school lunches for more than 14 million kids. Instead, the cash is being wasted on political ads.

So who's behind all this money? Candidates for sure ($133 million spent), but in a post-Citizens United world where the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people, too, we'll never know the source for a lot of it. Karl Rove has promised to unleash even more money in the coming week though his dual organizations American Crossroads and American Crossroads GPS; liberal groups and unions will undoubtedly be doing the same.

We can't wait for the toothless Federal Election Commission to restore sanity to our democracy. Congress must pass the DISCLOSE Act when it returns for a lame duck session after the election, and one of the priorities for the 112th Congress should be real and meaningful campaign finance reform with legislation like the Fair Elections Now Act.

We deserve better than this.

We're CREW, and we approve this message.

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