Outside groups are spending millions of dollars for last-minute attack ads and telephone calls in late attempts to sway voters as they head to the polls on Tuesday to determine the nation's tight Senate races.
Some of the outside groups are super PACs that were just formed after Labor Day, The New York Times reports,
and their ads are timed so voters won't know who paid for them until after the midterms are over.
Other super PACs were formed earlier this year, but only reported few contributions in filings with the Federal Election Commission. However, they started spending on six-and-seven-figure advertising campaigns. Further non-profit groups that have quickly popped up have been signing multi-million-dollar checks in recent days.
The last-minute ads have pushed outside spending to an average of $20 million every day last week, and Senate races' spending reached $200 million in October as the last days of the election cycle wound down.
One of the groups, which calls itself B-PAC and is registered with a Washington address, has spent $2.2 million in ads tying Democratic candidates with President Barack Obama in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan and New Hampshire, the Times reports.
Democrats are also benefiting. The Council for American Job Growth, a nonprofit, has spent at least $1 million to defend incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire against Republican challenger Scott Brown. The group is linked to the pro-immigration Fws.us, but instead praises Shaheen's work for veterans, the Times reports.
A Times analysis shows that at least 90 political nonprofits and super PACS, along with outside groups, spent no money until October, and of those, 18 did not exist until September. The late groups spent nearly $9 million through this past Thursday.
Such spending is "another way to hide money from the public," said Kathy Kiely, managing editor for the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation,
which advocates transparency in campaign spending.
"What’s particularly insidious is that these are the late contributions that can sometimes tip the balance in a close race," Kiely told The Times. "And because of the timing, it looks like people are deliberately trying to mask the source of the money until after Election Day. If money is free speech, why are you standing on a soap box in a burqa?”
And not all the money is being spent on tv or radio spots, making it difficult to trace, says the Sunlight Foundation, but instead, they're using automated phone calls.
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