The onslaught of TV advertisements airing in Iowa for the presidential race has been fueled on the Republican side mostly by outside groups on behalf of Mitt Romney, while President Barack Obama’s campaign is funding his effort.
An analysis by Iowa media outlets, including The Gazette and organized by the Des Moines Register, found that TV ads purchased on behalf of Romney that aired in Iowa primarily from April through August cost more than $15.7 million. The Romney campaign accounted for just $5.7 million of that, with outside groups covering the rest.
By contrast, Obama’s campaign accounted for 99 percent of the nearly $13.9 million spent on the president’s behalf.
“That’s very similar across the target (battleground) states,” said Bob Biersack, a senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization that tracks money in U.S. politics. “You’d see the same kind of thing in Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida.”
A 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United opened up political spending to corporations and unions. Obama’s reluctance to embrace outside groups like super PACs, or political action committees, and tax-exempt organizations is one reason for the differences in the two sides, experts said. Also, Romney could not spend money raised for the general election until he officially became his party’s nominee Aug. 30.
Obama’s only significant support from an outside group came from Priorities USA Action, which spent less money in Iowa than all but one of the nine conservative outside groups.