Interest groups responsible for five-fold increase in election spending

Campaign spending  by special interst groups has reached record amounts for this year’s midterm elections, yet no one knows exactly where all the dough is coming from.

Interest groups are spending five times as much ($80 million) on this year’s congressional midterm elections as they did on the last midterms in 2006 ($16 million), according to the Washington Post.

Of course, these record numbers aren’t suprising in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Comission ruling. The past months have been filled with reports of interest groups organized as nonprofits who aren’t required to disclose the identity of donors. Less than half of all interest groups have released their donors identies compared to 90 percent in 2006.

And when it comes to spending, groups backing GOP candidates are dominating the playing field. One of the biggest spenders is an Iowa group, American Future Fund, which has spent $7 million on Republican House and Senate Races. Karl Rove’s conservative group American Crossroads and the associated Crossroads GPS announced Tuesday that it will spend nearly $4.25 million on a nationwide advertising campaign for eight crucial Senate races.

Crossroads GPS is now the largest third-party player on television and watchdog groups are requesting the IRS investigate the group for potentially violating federal tax laws.