Study: Outside Groups Now a Third of All Campaign Spending

WASHINGTON (CQ-Roll Call/TNS) -

Secret money from outside groups is flooding election campaign coffers at the highest level in 16 years to nearly a third of all political advertising, a study has found.

Super PACs make up the bulk of the ad buys in the 2016 election cycle, accounting for nearly 73 percent of all outside group spending, according to the study by the Wesleyan Media Project and the Center for Responsive Politics.

The study tracked more than 700 organizations and found that while candidates are responsible for the majority of ads during a particular election cycle, some competitive House and Senate races are seeing more spending by outside groups than by those running for office.

Supreme Court decisions that have loosened campaign finance laws have allowed politically active nonprofits to drive the growth of “dark money” largely linked to wealthy donors or political operatives, the study showed.