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Looser Rules Send Election Spending Into The Stratosphere

This article is more than 9 years old.

Turns out politics, for all its focus on the gloomy economy, is a recession-proof industry.

This year's volatile election is bursting with money, setting fundraising and spending records in a high-stakes struggle for control of Congress amid looser but still fuzzy campaign finance rules.

Based on the latest financial reports, House and Senate candidates in this election cycle raised nearly $1.2 billion, well ahead of the pace for contests in 2008, 2006 and 2004.

Races for governor in 37 states - more than half of those for open seats - are also setting fundraising records. Billionaire Republican Meg Whitman leads the way, pumping $104 million of her own money into her campaign for California governor.

"We may be on track for the most expensive cycle ever, even more than '08, which is really hard to believe," said Michael Toner, a campaign finance lawyer at Bryan Cave and a former Federal Election Commission chairman.

This program aired on September 7, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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