Hard-hitting political ads against President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Allen West are popping up across Florida in a scramble to define the message of the 2012 elections, still 16 months away.
But the radio and TV attacks which focus on jobs, Medicare and the federal debt are not paid by the candidates opponents or the Democratic and Republican parties.
They are launched by so-called independent expenditure groups that are forming at remarkable speed, raising tens of millions of dollars and fundamentally altering political campaigns.
And you may never know who those contributors are or their motivations due to a provision of law that is increasingly exploited by Republican-aligned groups and, now, Democrats.
Though they decried the practice last election A problem for democracy, Obama said in October Democrats are racing to create their own groups, trying to prevent a further erosion of power in Washington.
If the 2010 midterm elections seemed a busy time, brace yourself.
Were going to see a tidal wave of cash like weve never seen before, said Bill Allison, editorial director of the pro-transparency Sunlight Foundation in Washington, which tracks the groups. You probably wont be able to turn on SpongeBob SquarePants without seeing political advertising.
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