- Dark money may have been outed as not the most fool-proof weapon to have in your arsenal during the 2012 presidential elections, but let's not forget—the smaller the election, the greater the impact of a big money drop.
- Which is why midterms are a donor's best friend. Recall, if you will, 2010. As our own Bob Moser noted last January, "In 2010, when more outside money was spent in the states than ever before, state senate candidates raised an average of just $132,000; assembly candidates averaged $66,000. Throw a hundred thousand into a state legislative race, and you can blow it up with drone-like precision."
- Which is exactly what Art Pope and many other donors did.
- And with some of the groups, like the network of fundraising organizations affiliated with the Koch brothers, which raised at least $407 million in the 2012 election cycle, you can't even tell who's doing the donating. This network's plan for 2014?
- According to David Koch, they're "going to study what worked, what didn’t work, and improve our efforts in the future. We’re not going to roll over and play dead.”
- And, it's important to remember that big campaign spenders are finally getting into their groove—four years and two election cycles have passed since the 2010 Citizens Uniteddecision.
- The Kochs aren't alone in prepping for the midterms with a big cash push. Obama is likely to stick to making dough instead of going out on the trail given his less than sterling ratings as of late.
- Michael Bloomberg, Gabrielle Giffords, and Jonathan Soros also have "wallets to watch"in 2014, according to Byron Tau and Ken Vogel.
- Here's a list of the groups—both Republican and Democratic—likely to spend big this year,including the Chamber of Commerce, which plans to spend at least $50 million to help establishment candidates in Republican primaries.
- The Obama administration is trying to tamp down some of the spending, mainly by keeping an eye on 501(c)4s, which aren't supposed to be as political as they've gotten away with in the past two elections. Spenders are responding by finding new loopholes in the grandsearch for more money.
- New York and Connecticut are also testing (or at least considering) new ways to change the campaign-finance system. Because as Bill de Blasio's successful campaign shows, staging elections as something other than a spending free-for-all can change electoral outcomes quite a bit too.
- Until then, the alligator hunts will continue.
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