This essay compares interest group activity in the 2012 federal elections with the previous two cycles. We examine the role of interest groups in financing campaign activities and influencing voters. Coming in the wake of the Citizens United case and other court decisions that relaxed campaign finance restrictions, the 2012 election marked an explosion of outside spending by organized interests, particularly independent expenditure advertising. While outside spending may not have produced the outcomes some expected in 2012, it blurs the distinction between candidates and outside groups and may be shifting the balance of power in campaigns away from candidates and toward organized interests. We conclude with a series of predictions about the nature of interest group activity in future election cycles.
©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston