Perhaps no other U.S. Supreme Court decision has had as much impact on an election in modern times as the Citizens United ruling did this year. The court case, which threw out longstanding limits on contributions by corporations and unions, helped produce 40% of all monies donated to campaigns in the now-concluded election cycle, according to the Sunlight Foundation.
The watchdog group says $126 million in campaign funds came from special interests that were able to give freely without disclosing their identity, thanks to Citizens United. Another $60 million in contributions was raised by groups without limitations, except that they did have to report the names of donors. Together, these two pools of campaign dollars totaled $186 million, or 40% of the $450 million spent by all outside groups for the 2010 election.
The Sunlight Foundation called this year’s campaign season “the costliest and least transparent midterm in recent history.”