Washington: America`s 2012 general elections is all set to be the most expensive one in its history, with the Presidential Election alone accounting USD 2.6 billion.
With an estimated expenditure of USD 6 billion, the 2012 election is set to top the last most expensive election -- four years ago -- by about USD 700 million, a report released by a not-for-profit think-tank said on Wednesday.
"In the new campaign finance landscape post-Citizens United, we`re seeing historic spending levels spurred by outside groups dominated by a small number of individuals and organisations making exceptional contributions," said Sheila Krumholz, the executive director of the Centre for Responsive Politics, after the release of a report in this regard.
Not only is the total cost of the election record breaking, but the rate at which spending has increased -- and continues to increase -- in the closing weeks of the election as well, the report said.
In particular, outside groups are spending furiously. Spending by these groups, for and against the two main presidential candidates, has grown from USD 19 million per week in early September to USD 33 million per week in early October, to USD 70 million during the week beginning October 21.
The Presidential Election, which alone accounts for USD 2.6 billion, is actually a decrease from 2008, when nearly USD 2.8 billion was directed at the presidential race, the report said.
In 2012, presidential candidates along with major party committees are expected to spend about USD 2 billion.
Outside organisations that report spending to the Federal Election Commission are predicted to spend more than USD 528 million to influence the presidential race.
According to the Centre For Responsive Politics, spending in congressional races is projected to increase slightly in 2012.
House and Senate candidates combined will spend about USD 1.82 billion, up from USD 1.81 in 2010.
The Obama Campaign kept much of its fund raising in-house, churning to collect millions of small donations at least USD 214.3 million, the report said, adding, that it also heavily tapped networks of wealthy and powerful supporters, known as bundlers, who combined to raise at least USD 180.1 million.
On the other hand, the Romney campaign never reached historic levels of fund raising but was aligned with powerful outside spending groups.
While the campaign raised just USD 389 million (only a relatively small fraction, USD 70.8 million, raised from small donors), Romney`s campaign was undoubtedly buoyed by the support of Restore Our Future, which raised USD 131. 6 million, it said.