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Election price tag could reach $6 billion

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By Ashley Killough


(CNN) — How much will be spent on the 2012 federal elections?

A report released Wednesday says the total spending amount could top a record-breaking $6 billion, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

As CNN reported earlier this year, that’s enough money to give 6/7ths of the world’s population $1 each.

The figure includes spending by presidential, Senate and House campaigns, as well as parties, super PACs and convention committees.

Outside groups accounted for the biggest boost in spending, with independent organizations dropping more than $970 million this cycle. The increase is largely related to the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that paved the way for the creation of super PACs, which are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money as long as they don’t coordinate with the campaigns.

Such groups, the report says, have been spending “furiously” in the final weeks before Election Day, “rising from $19 million per week in early September to $33 million per week in early October to $70 million during the week beginning October 21.”

Based on filings with the Federal Election Commission, the report estimates $2.6 billion will be spent on the presidential race alone, down from $2.8 billion in 2008. More than $528 million of that is likely to come from outside spending.

The center finds that congressional races have experienced the largest increase in spending. House and Senate candidates combined will spend about $1.8 billion, with the increase mainly coming from Republican candidates.

The report also shows that Republicans have raised more than Democrats in House and the Senate campaigns.

CNN’s Robert Yoon and Halimah Abdullah contributed to this report.