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Winning Candidates Rode a Wave of Spending by Outside Groups

Public Citizen Analysis Breaks Down Spending in 74 Races in Which Power Changed Hands

WASHINGTON - Outside groups put their money behind the winners in 58 of the 74 races in which power changed hands Tuesday, according to a new Public Citizen analysis.

 In only 14 contests did the loser benefit more from spending by
outside groups, said the analysis, which looked only at those races in
which a winner had been projected by CNN as of 7:30 a.m. today.

Winning candidates in elections in which power changed hands were
aided by average spending of $764,326 to help their cause while losing
candidates were aided by average spending of $273,268, a ratio of nearly
2.8 to 1. The analysis deemed outside spending as aiding candidates if
it either praised them or criticized their opponents and does not
include outside spending for primaries. Spending by party committees and
traditional political action committees (PACs) also was not included.

“This election showed the power of front groups using massive, secret
contributions from corporations and wealthy individuals,” said David
Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “We can
expect much more of the same in 2012. Our democracy is seriously
threatened when a small group of powerful elites wield so much influence
over elections.”
 The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election
Commission opened the way for corporations to spend unlimited amounts to
influence elections. Public Citizen is pushing for a constitutional
amendment to overturn the decision, as well as several legislative


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 “It will take years to undo the damage from Citizens United, but the
Senate can start right away with a simple step that the vast majority
of Americans support - requiring better disclosure of election
spending,” said Arkush.

 Public Citizen’s election analysis includes charts that break down
spending by outside groups for each of the candidates in the 74 races

Additional information is available at


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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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