, WASHINGTON, Nov 10 – Despite their funding deluge from wealthy donors, Republicans failed to overwhelm President Barack Obama and Democrats at the ballot box. So was throwing all that money at the 2012 election worth it?
Obama was handily re-elected, Democrats added two more seats to their majority in the Senate, and they cut into the Republican lead in the House.
There is no two ways about it: that spelled bad news for Karl Rove, president George W. Bush’s then-strategist and a party luminary who raised huge money for Republican efforts across the United States this year.
His two groups, super political action committee (PAC) American Crossroads and its general interest group cousin Crossroads GPS, funneled at least $176 million of donor money into anti-Obama advertising and Republican candidates, who lost en masse on November 6.
Some reports put the dollar figure above $300 million.
In its historic 2010 ruling, “Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission,” the US Supreme Court struck down limits on corporate campaign spending, essentially giving companies the same basic right to political speech that individuals have.
By contrast, donations to the candidates and political parties themselves remained capped.
Citizens United unleashed a torrent of funds from corporations and wealthy individuals – on both sides of the political fence.
The Sunlight Foundation, which advocates greater transparency in government and elections, estimated that outside groups spent a total of more than $1.3 billion in independent expenditures to influence the outcome of the 2012 races.
In the case of a public policy advocacy group like Crossroads GPS, spending must be reported but the donor information can be kept confidential, allowing billionaire conservatives to spend sky-high sums without being identified.
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson acknowledged parting with no less than $54 million of his own money to try to get Romney elected.