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WISPIRG Foundation
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Madison – (WTDY) The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) has found that Super PACs and other groups, whose donors often remain anonymous, have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to persuade voters in presidential battleground states like Wisconsin.

“More than half of the $230 million raised by Super PACs from individuals came from just 47 people giving at least one million dollars,” said WISPIRG director Bruce Speight.

Public policy organizations Dēmos and WISPIRG released their recent findings on 3rd party campaign spending in a report entitled Megaphones for Millionaires: Super PACs and Unlimited Outside Spending in the 2012 Elections. The report shows that the big money funding shadow campaigns isn't isn't just coming from Super PACs. WISPIRG found that trade groups and non-profit Social Welfare organizations are on track to spend more than Super PACs this campaign cycle.

“These organizations actually have [fewer] requirements for transparency and disclosure then the Super PACs,” explained Speight. “There’s a lot of secret, dark money pouring into our political process.”

Using 2012 FEC filings and other campaign spending data, WISPIRG calculated that secret donors gave over $12 million to independent political groups that can’t be traced back to an individual.  Speight said when the financiers of outside spending groups are known, it's clear that “increasingly, a very small number of people are giving a disproportionate amount of money to influence our elections.”

Historically, campaign finance reform has been supported by both Republicans and Democrats.  Speight believes one of the problems with the current system is that there is bi-partisan support against such measures.

“It’s really an incumbency protection system that we have right now.  A lot of elected officials depend on those contributions to keep their jobs.”

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