By Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Attorney General

Huffington Post

January 11, 2012

In the two years since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, those of us who are concerned with the growing influence of special interests and corporations in our political process have seen our worst fears realized. Based on data gathered by, a website that tracks money in American politics, spending by non-party committees during the 2010 Congressional elections (the first federal elections to occur after Citizens United) increased to approximately $304.7 million, four times the level of such spending in the 2006 Congressional elections.

Even more disturbing is the enormous increase in spending by outside groups not required to disclose their donors. In 2006, such groups spent approximately $875,000. During the 2010 elections, those groups spent an astonishing $133.3 million. That is over 150 times the amount spent in the 2006 elections and nearly double the amount spent during the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections.

Now, in the 2012 election cycle, the amount of undisclosed and special interest money is increasing at an even more alarming rate. Indeed, in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, we have seen an unprecedented number of outside groups attacking candidates in the Republican presidential race. Many of these groups are so-called “Super PACs” that can receive unlimited corporate and special interest money. Although barred from coordinating with specific candidates, many Super PACs in fact support an individual candidate. Just this week, one casino tycoon donated five million dollars to a Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich that is being used to tear down his opponent’s record. These instances in which one person can so greatly impact an election by writing a check is only going to increase.

Read the entire article, here.

Photo by spatuletail /