Under current tax laws a 501(c)4 nonprofit that engages in issue advocacy is not required to disclose its sources of revenue (unlike 527 groups, which must file with the Federal Election Commission).
Following the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, corporations and unions (which were prohibited from making such contributions) are allowed to make unlimited donations to these groups without facing disclosure.
According to opensecrets.org, in the 2002 midterm election, the total money spent by outside groups was $31 million.
In 2010, the total is $385,000,000 (so far), the majority of which is going tio back .
A major Republican donor who has given $7 million to Karl Rove's campaign organization - created to support Republican candidates - doesn't expect anything in return for his money, Rove said.
As The New York Times reported, Texas businessman Bob Perry has since September given $7 million to Rove's group, American Crossroads, and also gave $4 million to the Republican Governors Association.
He has been a longtime major donor to Republican candidates, including George W. Bush's campaigns for governor and president, and to Republican groups and causes.
When asked by Bob Schieffer what someone might expected for a seven million dollar donation, Rove replied, "Well, I can't speak to others but I know what Bob Perry expects and that is absolutely nothing.
"I've known him for thirty years. He's one of the most selfless individuals I've ever known, and I've never received a phone call from Bob Perry asking for a darn thing. He is a true believer. He believes in our country. He's concerned about its future. He gives away most of what he earns to charitable and political and philanthropic causes and lives a modest lifestyle. And it's the kind of person that Americans should be proud to have."
"I have to say, if we ran a poll around the country, how many people do you think would agree with you when you say that someone would give seven million dollars to anything and not expect something in return?" asked Schieffer.
"You know, I don't care what the poll might say," Rove replied. "I just know the man. And the man is a decent, deeply religious patriotic American guy, and God bless him for doing so."