The super PAC supporting Mitt Romney made an enormous $18 million ad buy Tuesday, the largest independent expenditure ever reported to the Federal Election Commission. The amount is more than the super PAC, Restore Our Future, had on hand as of Oct. 1, meaning it may have received significant contributions in the days before the election.
In all, $60 million dollars were spent by independent groups on Tuesday alone, with the Karl Rove-linked Crossroads groups spending $12 million. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $9 million, the Obama super PAC, Priorities USA, chipped in $4 million, and Majority PAC, a Democratic Senate super PAC, spent $3 million.
The $18 million buy highlights the advantage Republicans have enjoyed in outside spending. The fourteen largest independent expenditures of this election cycle have been from Restore Our Future and American Crossroads.
The fifteenth-largest buy is from Priorites USA, which as of Oct. 1 had more cash in the bank than Restore Our Future.
Restore Our Future had $16.5 million in the bank as of Oct. 1, so it is unclear whether this represented the emptying of its bank account for buys in the next two weeks, or whether there is more to come.
Because it is a nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, it is unknown how much the Crossroads group will be able to spend in the coming days.
The graph below shows total dollars of independent spending by day, from August 1 through today, by super PACs, nonprofits, unions and parties. The largest bar, representing Tuesday, is $60 million.