Politico published an article discussing a new study from the Wesleyan Media Project concluding that the media and campaign finance reformer claims that outside group spending broke all records in the 2010 election may have been overstated.
Despite the heightened attention on independent groups over the course of the campaign, according to the study, candidates and campaign committees actually drove most of the spending. By the time the final campaign ad aired, candidates and parties paid for 85 percent of all ads in Senate races and 88 percent of ads in House races.
The study also found that the claims by the White House, Congressional Democrats, and campaign finance reform groups that conservative outside groups spending overwhelmed Democratic candidate and party committee hard money ads are without merit.
Over the course of the campaign, the report found, Democratic committees and candidates outspent their GOP foes $159 million to $112 million – more than enough to compensate for the money outside GOP-leaning groups contributed toward airtime.
“If anything, pro-Republican groups helped keep Republican challengers competitive with the incumbent Democratic class,” the report says.