Unknown dollars dumped in Pa. US Senate race

    Millions of dollars from outside sources are pouring into attack ads for the Pennsylvania US Senate race. The sharp increase in what’s called “independent expenditures” this year has good government activists worried about where this money comes from.

    Recent court rulings have made it easier to dump money into political campaigns. But some of these groups are not required to disclose their own funders.

    Four years ago, in the 2006 Senate race, outside groups–including political action committees, unions and national party organizations–spent a little more than $1 million on six candidates. So far, in this year’s election, that number has topped $5 million for the two candidates.

    The Toomey campaign has gotten several million dollars worth of television ad support–including this one sponsored by a group backed by Republican operative Karl Rove. It attacks the Democratic candidate Joe Sestak.

    “…gutting medicare, hurting seniors, killing jobs, Pennsylvanians can’t afford Joe Sestak. Crossroads GPS is responsible for this advertising.”

    Rove’s group has spent a $500,000 in Pennsylvania. That’s on top of nearly $800,000 from the conservative Club for Growth, which Toomey used to run.

    Democrat Joe Sestak has gotten millions of dollars of support from the traditional party coffers.

    Here’s one of the spots paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — attacking Toomey.

    “….privatizing social security, helping Wall Street, Pat Toomey, he’s not for you. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.’

    Dave Levinthal tracks political spending at the Center for Responsive Politics.

    “We’re tracking this hour by hour and we literally see millions of dollars every day flowing into the political system in the form of these independent expenditures and these electioneering communications which are going up on your televisions and radio.”

    Levinthal says by November the total spent nationwide will top $100,000,000 and voters will not know who’s really paying for the airtime.

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