We’re just over four weeks from a midterm election that could result in a major power shift in Congress. If the polls are right, Republicans may well take control of the House of Representatives. As Need to Know’s Jon Meacham pointed out several weeks ago, there’s nothing new about midterm elections resulting in the party out of power grabbing it back.
But what is new this year is the way the campaigns are being conducted, and how much is being spent — not by the campaigns themselves, but by others: corporations, advocacy groups and individuals with deep pockets. Media analysts estimate a record-breaking — and jaw dropping — $3.7 billion will be spent on advertising alone. But by whom exactly? That’s what we need to know, but it’s not easy to find out.
And that’s why the 2010 “shadow campaign,” as some are calling it, is on the Watch List this week.
The Watch List is Need to Know’s commitment to reporting on the consequences of decades of deregulation, and the failure of our leaders to keep us safe and secure. This week, we investigate the new impact of big money on our election process.
More than $3 billion spent on political campaigning may be good for media companies and campaign consultants, but is it good for democracy? This is the first nationwide election since the Supreme Court decision back in January of this year, which changed the campaign spending rules. Need to Know asked correspondent Rick Karr to explain how these changes are affecting the fiercely fought midterm elections.