Independent expenditures for September totaled $207 million, breaking records for prior months this cycle and rivaling the outside spending from previous presidential years, according to data from the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Responsive Politics.
In August, the previous high-water mark, independent expenditures reached $100 million. Total independent expenditures so far in 2012 are approaching half a billion dollars. Total outside spending in 2008 was $301 million, according the Center's data.
About one-third of the $207 million in September, the Sunlight Foundation reports, came from unknown donors, another third was from super PACs, and the final third emanated from party committees and political action committees.
So which side is winning the spending battle?
Thus far, conservative spending outpaces liberal spending almost 3 to 1, the CRP reports, with conservative groups shelling out $331 million to liberals' $124 million.
The September report comes as the window of opportunity for the 112th Congress to take up campaign finance reform has all but closed. Senate Republicans rebuffed Senate Democrats' attempts to pass the Disclose Act twice this year, and the House has given little indication that it will take up the measure, with a fiscal crisis awaiting lawmakers when they return from the campaign trail in November.
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