648627A billion dollars here, a billion there and pretty soon it adds up to some pretty serious money. That old adage, supposedly uttered by Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen about government spending habits, has become a popular one when it comes to discussions of Washington. Apparently, it now applies just as much to campaign spending. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, campaign spending will soar to a record $2.6 billion in 2006. From Reuters:
With such high stakes, it is unsurprising that candidates and outside groups are expected to raise and spend more money than ever, said Sheila Krumholz, the nonprofit group's acting executive director.Being a non-presidential election year, the overall spending is actually down from 2004 when it hit an estimated $4.2 billion. The attention paid to this year's spending spree seems to be fairly non-existent this year as well. Traditionally, we can depend on a decent amount of "follow-the-money" stories to inform the public of who's shoveling all this cash into campaigns or even occasionally stories helping us understand where it's spent. Maybe it's because these stories have been done so often in the past, maybe it's because it's easier to talk about who's going to have control of Congress for the next two years, but it seems the money angle has been under-covered this cycle. Should it be getting more?
"The money in this campaign has been flowing fast and furiously," Krumholz told reporters on a conference call.
Despite a 2002 law that aims to limit the impact of money on the political process, the center found that candidates and outside political groups are raising more money than ever for television ads, travel, voter outreach efforts and other campaign activities.