Whoa. Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that unleashed unprecedent amounts of money into politics, really has changed the game:
Republican super PACs and other outside groups shaped by a loose network of prominent conservatives – including Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – plan to spend roughly $1 billion on November’s elections for the White House and control of Congress, according to officials familiar with the groups’ internal operations.
That total includes previously undisclosed plans for newly aggressive spending by the Koch brothers, who are steering funding to build sophisticated, county-by-county operations in key states. POLITICO has learned that Koch-related organizations plan to spend about $400 million ahead of the 2012 elections – twice what they had been expected to commit.
Just the spending linked to the Koch network is more than the $370 million that John McCain raised for his entire presidential campaign four years ago.
The groups associated with the spending barrage include the Republican Jewish Coalition ($6 million), The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($100 million), the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads ($300 million).
The top Democratic Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, is expected to struggle to reach its target of $100 million. To add insult to financial injury, Democratic Senate candidates and incumbents have already been outspent 3 to 1 by Republican Super PACs, which aren’t even officially affiliated with campaigns.