Outside Groups Pay Big Money into Election

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By Stephanie Tyrpak
By Randy Livingston

WSIL NEWS -- The 2012 election is on pace to be one of the most expensive in history. 

The candidates aren't the only ones spending. Outside groups have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into races for Congress across the country.
 
According to the non-profit research group the Sunlight Foundation, more than $46 million has been spent by outside groups on races in Illinois. Most of that has gone to the U.S. House Seats up for grabs in Tuesday's election, and a majority of the money paid for negative campaign advertisements.
  
"Just the volume of it and the size of it," said Paul Simon Institute Director David Yepsen, "What we see on TV, but also what we see in our mailboxes, in people who are knocking on doors. It's a pretty expensive race."
 
The race for the 12th Congressional District between Democrat Bill Enyart and Republican Jason Plummer has attracted more than $7.3 million in spending.
 
"This is a toss-up race. Both parties would like to have it in their effort to take or keep control of the House of Representatives," Yepsen said.
 
More than $2.8 million has been spent on opposing Plummer, compared to just $194,000 in support. More than $3.9 million has been spent against Enyart, compared to $335,000 in support.
 
But as Yepsen explains, the extra spending on ads may not be having the impact groups are hoping for.
 
"There's just so much money sloshing around that a lot of it tends to cancel itself out, tends to turn people off," said Yepsen.
 
The eleventh hour attacks on both sides may also not do much to change a person's mind.
 
"Voters are smart," said Yepsen, "They know to discount these last minute charges and counter-charges."
 
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