For Political Attack Ads, Anonymous Cash Is Flowing And Sparks Are Flying

You might think TV or radio advertising is dead, but the cash is flowing to those media from political operatives. Only we don’t know who’s behind the messaging. What we do know is that anonymous groups are using cash to target politicians, even if it’s early in the election cycle.

Bloomberg Businessweek has more:

.Spending reported to the FEC by independent committees rose four-fold to $305 million during the 2009-2010 election cycle from the 2005-2006 period, about half of it from secret donors. That was almost a 10th of the total of $3.7 billion spent on the election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington nonprofit that tracks data reported to the campaign monitoring agency.

That amount may understate the organizations’ impact on the last election by 50 percent or more. Media purchases by independent groups exceeded $450 million, estimated Kenneth Goldstein, president of Arlington, Virginia-based Campaign Media Analysis Group, a unit the advertising company WPP Plc. The total may have been as high as $560 million, according to the Campaign Finance Institute, a Washington nonprofit.

That’s a lot of cash. And it wouldn’t be spent if it didn’t have an impact on voters. If this isn’t stopped (and it won’t likely be anytime soon), we’re going to see a deluge of ads over the next 12 months. The messages will be forceful, misleading, and crass. But media companies will be happy to take that money, even if people say they’re sick of this type of political and issue-oriented advertising.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.