Follow The Money

Political Fundraising Tops Money Collected During Height Of Bubble

Govs. Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (l) and Mississippi's Gov. Haley Barbour (r) in Jackson, Miss. at a fundraiser for the state's Republican Party, Thursday night, Sept. 2, 2010 Rogelio V. Solis/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Rogelio V. Solis/AP

The overall economy may be moving along in a sideways, crab-like fashion, but there's nothing ambivalent about the political-money microeconomy as the mid-term elections approach.

Political fundraising is surging, seemingly operating in a different universe than the rest of the economy.

USA Today reports:

WASHINGTON — Fundraising for the midterm congressional elections is smashing records, as Republicans and their allies stage an all-out push to seize control of Congress.

Congressional candidates have raised more than $1.2 billion through June, the most recent campaign figures show, surpassing the nearly $886 million collected at the same point in the 2006 elections that put Democrats into power.

Republicans, according to the story, have raised nearly $50 million more than Democrats. That stands to reason considering the greater energy on the Republican side, with non-partisan political forecasters expecting the GOP will assume control of the House as part of an anti-President Barack Obama, anti-Democratic wave.

Again, what's so remarkable about this is that 2006 was the height of the real- estate bubble era when the U.S. economy contained trillions dollars more of assets, at least on paper.

An interesting analysis would be to see how much the composition of where the money is coming from has changed.

For instance, it would seem unlikely that the real estate industry would be able to keep up the same level of political spending. The same might be true for certain sectors within the financial industry closely tied to real estate.

Also, how much of the increase is tied to the Supreme Court's controversial Citizens United decision in which the court said corporations and unions have constitutional free-speech rights to freely spend money on political messages?

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