Republican-backed third-party advocacy groups are far outspending similar Democratic-leaning groups in the run-up to the November mid-term election. A company that tracks political advertising reports that from August 1 to September 8, Republican groups spent $10.9 million on television ads to influence Senate races, compared to $1.3 million spent by Democratic groups. For House races, Republican groups spent $3.1 million to Democrats' $1.5 million. The huge disparity highlights the possibility that, after the Supreme Court's ruling earlier this year in the Citizens United case (which gave corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence American elections), a small number of extremely wealthy individual and corporate donors unknown to the general public are essentially buying Congress. Leading the spending is a group called Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, organized by Republican operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, who cultivate wealthy individual and corporate donors, like Texas billionaire Harold Simmons. Crossroads GPS is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which means it does not have to disclose its donors. The biggest sponsor of TV ads in House races has been Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the astroturf front group created and funded by oil billionaire David Koch, which, like Crossroads GPS, is also a 501(c)(4) group and doesn't have to disclose its donors.
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