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Group estimates 44% of total campaign spending comes from special interests


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Special interest groups are starting to spend almost as much as the candidates themselves in trying to tell Wisconsinites how to vote.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign estimates that 44 percent of the total spending in the 2010 and 2012 state and federal elections came from outside groups. That’s up from 32 percent in the 2006 and ’08 cycles.

Mike McCabe of the Democracy Campaign says it won’t be too long before outside groups have a bigger say than the candidates in political ads. That’s because of the 2010 Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court decision which allowed corporations to put money into elections through independent groups.

The Democracy Campaign estimates that $392 million were spent in the 2010 and ’12 state and federal elections in Wisconsin – up from $124 million in ’06 and ’08 elections.

Much of the recent spending was put toward the recall elections connected with the limits on public union bargaining. But even when that’s taken out, campaign spending almost doubled in the last four years compared to the previous four.