Billion of dollars spent on US mid-term poll campaign

Monday, November 8, 2010

WASHINGTON - Billions of dollars were spent on television advertisements and firms catering liquor, pizza and other items during the campaign for the Nov 2 mid-term US Congressional election, the election commission’s records revealed.

The campaign showered billions of dollars on a broad array of companies, including broadcast conglomerates, polling firms and small-town restaurants, the Washington Post reported.

According to an analysis of the expenditure report, candidates spent at least $50 million on catering and liquor, $3.2 million at country clubs and golf courses, and $500,000 on pizza, coffee and doughnuts.

Expenditures for the elections began in January 2009, although most of the money was spent in recent months. Experts predict that total spending for the Congressional midterms will approach $4 billion.

The spending, which came when many businesses were struggling with tepid growth and the national unemployment rate stuck near 10 percent, proved beneficial for several firms.

“It’s certainly had an impact on the bottom lines of many of these companies, particularly in the media area,” said Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution. “It probably improved things for some of them at a critical time.”

Campaigns paid banks to handle their money, consultants to map out their strategies and media buyers to book their advertising, the report said.

The records also show only part of the picture, because most political committees and independent groups have not submitted final reports.

Banks, credit card companies and cheque-processing firms also made out big, raking in more than $140 million, records show.

The records also found notable differences in spending patterns between the two parties. Republicans, for example, spent twice as much on country clubs and golf courses, while Democrats spent more on caterers and liquor.

Filed under: Economy

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