Big-money outside groups have spent more than $143 million in the presidential race in the six months since any of them were required to reveal their donors, according to a POLITICO analysis of campaign and advertising records.
The origins of some of that cash will never be revealed, while the rest of it won’t become known until midnight on Jan. 31 ― meaning that voters won’t know who funded the majority of the ads in the presidential race until just hours before Iowa voters head to their state’s pivotal caucuses.
The opacity is emblematic of the new political reality in which presidential candidates’ allies are spending an increasing amount of cash in ways that push the bounds of campaign finance rules rendered rickety by recent federal court decisions, regulatory inaction and congressional neglect.
Through Monday, super PACs and other big-money outside groups had spent nearly four times as much on ads in the presidential race as the candidates’ own campaigns, which had spent $42 million since the beginning of July, POLITICO’s analysis found.
And supporters of Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, among other candidates, have pioneered new ways for their campaigns to work with those outside groups that test key assumptions set forth in the Supreme Court decision that paved the way for super PACs and other big-money groups.
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