Commentary: Money makes the politics go 'round

The pre-election politicking is — mercifully, most would probably say — almost over for a while. It’s a matter of debate (though perhaps not much debate) whether campaigns are getting substantially uglier. What is not debatable is that they are getting alarmingly more expensive.

Bemoaning the effect of big money on politics and governance is by now a cliché. But like most clichés, it is at least partly rooted in truth.

A Washington Post report earlier this week, cited in a news release by political watchdog organization Common Cause, estimated that U.S. House candidates alone will have spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 billion by the end of this election cycle.

Think college costs have been soaring past inflation rates in recent years? Indeed they have. But wrap your mind around these numbers: The Post reports that through the third quarter of this year, House candidates had already raised more than $921 million and spent more than $733 million — a 30 percent increase in fund-raising and a 54 percent increasing in campaign spending over just two years ago.

At this pace, both fundraising and spending by House candidate will double the amounts of 10 years ago.

But as Common Cause points out, the real story is the one behind those garish numbers — the impact of “front group” spending for attack ad campaigns, to which candidates respond by raising and spending still more money.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.ledger-enquirer.com.