By Leigh Barber
The funding for the 2014 midterm cycle was turned inside out for both parties. After one of the most expensive midterm cycles in history, reports show that huge amounts of money have come from organizations that are making donations on behalf of very wealthy outside groups. These outside donations are making donations much larger than the average individual donor. A consortium based at Wesleyan Media Project has tracked the advertising played on television and they have discovered that 40 percent of the commercials have been sponsored by outside groups. This is a steep increase from the 2012 elections, when outside groups funded only 32 percent of the advertisements.
The term “secret money” has been coined by many analysts who attempt to keep track of where all the funds for these campaigns come from. Estimates have been released and it is reported that the 2014 elections cost upwards of $3.7 billion. Many voters are outraged and many students feel that they do not have the funds necessary to support the candidates that they want to see elected. While volunteering is always an option, it seems that large donations are valued over the one method that students feel secure in doing. Many large donors often do not feel the need to volunteer. “I worked as an Organizing Fellow with Charlie Crist’s campaign,” first-year George Thurlow said.
“As far as finances are concerned, I did notice that many larger donors were less interested in volunteering or participating in events, which is really more important as volunteers create personal contact.”
Now that the elections have finished, experts are saying that it is possible that the overwhelming domination of the Republican party be attributed to high spending. The party reportedly spent $1.75 billion on this election, while the Democratic party spent $1.64 billion. In Florida, Governor Rick Scott used a blind trust to keep speculation of self-interest at bay. Scott was victorious over Crist, but both candidates received donations from businesses, executives and wealthy special interest groups. These donations follow the outside group trends that can be seen from the midterm races all across the country.
Many people are upset that campaign funds were spent so outrageously, when the billions of dollars could have been used to solve other pressing issues in the country and around the world. “We’re observing the rise of career politicians who not only are millionaires and are in the back pocket of corporations and interest groups that can finance their elections, but also the fact that normal citizens who generally should be the ones representing the populous cannot afford in any way shape or form to run a serious campaign for office,” first-year Becca Caccavo said.
Having outside groups fund candidates raises suspicion amongst voters, but there does not seem to be another way around it. Large corporations and organizations funded the candidates that created the most expensive midterm cycle in history.