Crossroads GPS, or Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, is the brainchild of GOP strategist Karl Rove, and spent an estimated $41.7 million. Americans for Prosperity, credited with helping launch the Tea Party movement, is backed in part by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, and spent an estimated $18.2 million.
Campaign-finance reform advocates say the spending by the two organizations highlights the role anonymous money is playing in this election, which will be the most expensive in history.
"First of all, it shows how much desire there is for secrecy among huge donors who want to be able to spend money to influence this election without leaving any fingerprints," said Fred Wertheimer, who runs Democracy 21, a watchdog group. "Secondly, it shows that so far, there is an enormous advantage being played in this election by just two groups that are exercising undue influence in the elections."
In an email, Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for Crossroads GPS, defended the group's work. Wertheimer's concern reflected partisan bias, he charged.
"Liberal partisans are attacking conservative nonprofits for doing the same things that environmentalist groups, anti war groups, and labor groups have been doing for years without a single complaint," Collegio wrote.
Americans for Prosperity did not respond to a phone call or an email.
Conservative social-welfare nonprofits have spent about $70 million on TV ads in the election cycle so far, compared to just $1.6 million by liberal groups, CMAG data shows.
Unlimited millions to buy the election? Republicans have it. They have enough money to put the Robot/Zombie '12 ticket in the White House, and all they would need is three more Senators, and the Republic is gone. Of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations. They'll have enough money to run as many ads as they want, and as the election draws near, you won't be able to avoid them.
Until we get a Congress that will overturn Citizens United with a Constitutional amendment, corporations will forever own our political process and our politicians.