by Lee Fang
We’ve warned before that 2012 will be the greatest election bought and sold. Now, Politico is reporting that outside groups are preparing to spend upwards of $1 billion this year to defeat President Obama and elect more big business-friendly lawmakers to Congress.
To put these numbers in perspective, the Koch network alone — the political machine headed by plutocrats David and Charles Koch and funded by other billionaires — plans to spend more money this year than every dollar raised by John McCain’s campaign in 2008:
Republican super PACs and other outside groups shaped by a loose network of prominent conservatives – including Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – plan to spend roughly $1 billion on November’s elections for the White House and control of Congress, according to officials familiar with the groups’ internal operations.Much of the money will be difficult to trace. The Federal Elections Commission only requires spending reports for ads aired within 60 days of the general election or 30 days of a primary. Big business groups have grown adept at exploiting loopholes so their spending is difficult to trace. For instance, the American Chemistry Council is currently engaged in a multimillion dollar ad campaign — yet not a dime of it appears on the FEC website. Moreover, groups like the Koch network use various foundations and nonprofit entities to avoid disclosing how much they spend, and where the money comes from. Republic Report was the first to discover $55 million in secret attack efforts coordinated by the Koch machine in 2010 — but our discovery was on May 19, 2012, two years after the election, and questions still linger relating to who helped the Koch brothers raise the cash.
That total includes previously undisclosed plans for newly aggressive spending by the Koch brothers, who are steering funding to build sophisticated, county-by-county operations in key states. POLITICO has learned that Koch-related organizations plan to spend about $400 million ahead of the 2012 elections – twice what they had been expected to commit.
Just the spending linked to the Koch network is more than the $370 million that John McCain raised for his entire presidential campaign four years ago. And the $1 billion total surpasses the $750 million that Barack Obama, one of the most prolific fundraisers ever, collected for his 2008 campaign.