Embattled Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Tens of millions of dollars has been saved up by dozens of secret, previously inactive groups, just to be unleashed in the last weeks of this campaign on attack ads and robocalls, the New York Times reports
The groups' last-minute fusillade of attacks helped push outside spending in races around the country to an average of at least $20 million a day last week. Total spending on Senate races reached $200 million in October alone, significantly more than in the same period before the 2010 midterms. […]
At least 90 political nonprofits, super PACs and outside groups did not spend any money until the beginning of October, according to a New York Times analysis. Among them are 18 groups that did not exist in September, and that had collectively spent almost $9 million through Thursday.
Several are spending money they did not have on Oct. 15, the last day before Election Day for which super PACs must disclose contributions. One late-spending super PAC called Arkansas Horizon has spent more than $1 million in the last two weeks on ads attacking Senator Mark Pryor, a Democrat—far more than the cash on hand it reported as of mid-October.
All of it, of course, in secret. One group—Alliance for a Free Society—has spent nearly half a million in Kansas attacking Independent candidate Greg Orman, and it didn't even exist until July. It has connections to a former executive of Koch Industries. Of course. By holding off until after October 15, then spending millions, these can avoid having to report to the FEC and not reveal who they are until after the election. They've got millions, so they can afford to buy up whatever television or radio ad time still open. And if there isn't any time open, they spend the money on robocalls attacking candidates. The pre-October millions spent on election ads hasn't closed the deal in any of the most competitive Senate races, so these groups are betting that last minute spending will tip the balance.
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Welcome to the post-Citizens United world. By October 2016, we'll all have learned to leave the television and radio off, and to not answer our phones.