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Will the $1 billion mark make a lasting impact?
There is new dollar figure attached to the debate over super PACs. “POLITICO” reporters have crunched the numbers from various Republican groups and learned they plan to spend a "record $1 billion blitz" on the races for the White House and Congress.
That number is separate from monies being raised by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee, which is pegged at $800 million. All of these numbers for 2012 dwarf the 2008 spending, when candidate Barack Obama raised a seemingly impressive $750 million and John McCain tallied a pittance of $370 million for his presidential campaign.
As for Democrats' super PAC cash for 2012, “POLITICO” reports, "If the GOP groups hit their targets, they likely could outspend their liberal adversaries by at least two-to-one." So what will it all buy? More ads, better ads, more direct mail, more robocalls and more ballot drives. Will they also buy politicians and influence? That has been the worry of critics since Citizens United – the Supreme Court decision that inspired the creation of super PACs (political action committees).
What will be the effect of gargantuan spending really? Will 2012 look so different from 2008? What saturation level of ads do we expect? When does the law of diminishing returns kick in? And how will it change who has influence over politicians compared to yesteryear?
Tom Perriello,President and CEO, Center for American Progress Action Fund – described as a progressive advocacy organization; former Democratic Congressman
Allison Hayward, Vice President of Policy, Center for Competitive Politics – an advocacy group critical of campaign finance reform