By Russ Choma
Expenditures by super PACs were expected to hit the $100 million mark today, further proof that outside spending will far outstrip anything seen in previous election cycles.
Here's one way to look at how much more is being spent in the 2012 cycle: A single super PAC, the pro-Mitt Romney Restore Our Future, has already spent more -- $44.5 million -- than all outside groups combined had spent by this point in 2008. That 2008 number, about $30.9 million, is roughly one-quarter of this cycle's overall outside spending total of $122.7 million.
And the $100 million spent just by super PACs this cycle is already $30 million more than the entire sum of all outside spending in the 2004 election, the year that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth 527 organization made a splash with its attacks on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.
OpenSecrets.org created the graphic below to help visualize what it all means.