Thousands being spent on political advertisements
With millions of dollars to be spent over the control the House of Representatives, Upstate New York is expected to be near the epicenter of that fight. As our Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Erin Billups explains, the campaign dollars are flowing here in record amounts.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "We're confident that we'll be able to spend about $35 million all told in House races across the country," said Andy Stone, House Majority PAC Communications Director.
As of this month, the Democratic-run House Majority PAC and SEIU is spending $255,000 in fall TV ads in Rochester, $175,000 in Syracuse and $325,000 in Buffalo all to help Democrats in Washington win back control of the House.
"The reason we exist is to combat the flood of outside republican money that we saw last cycle. That can't happen again," Stone said.
Their Republican counterpart, the Congressional Leadership Fund, plans to use the $6.3 million it’s raised so far to keep the House GOP in power. Still the money from these super PACs is just the tip of the iceberg.
"Where leftist groups were able to come in, groups from the Sierra Club to unions, to Democracy Now, we are now able to serve as a counter balance there," said San Conston, Congressional Leadership Fund Communications Director.
It's political spending like the country has never seen before. Election campaigns forever changed by a 2010 Supreme Court decision.
"The Citizens United Decision really has opened the flood gates of huge amounts of money into campaigns," said Allan Lichtman, American University Distinguished History Professor.
Super PACs, like the two we spoke with, must disclose where they get their funds and how they spend it. But others, specifically 501(c)4s, don't have to disclose anything.
"I think it's distorting the truth and I think it's going to distort the election," Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said.
Last month, Senate democrats tried to vote on the Disclose Act, which would have closed that loophole, but republicans, who are far out raising democrats, blocked the measure.
Conston says the right is simply taking its cues from the left.
"It sounds a little hypocritical and a little bit like sour grapes," Conston said.
Still, campaign experts say both sides are a part of the problem and in the end, a wealthy few have too much influence over the outcome of elections.
Licthman said, "Candidates should be like NASCAR drivers on their suits they should have patches: Exxon Mobile, Merck."