In this update:
1. State donors give record amounts to shadow groups
2. Searchable database of campaign contributions updated
3. Cost of national elections to pass $5 billion mark
4. Huge Election Day vote has nothing to do with election

The Democracy Campaign today released the latest tally of donations from Wisconsin contributors to so-called "527" groups. With quite a bit of money still to be counted in this election cycle, state donations to 527s already have surpassed the previous record for an entire two-year election cycle by nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.

WDC gleaned the figures from records on file with the Internal Revenue Service.

The report provides a partial accounting of where party front groups and special interest sponsors of so-called "issue ads" are getting the money to pay for the smear campaigns they are running in dozens of national and state races.

Based on the extent of known special interest electioneering in state races alone, the money flowing through 527 groups represents just the tip of the iceberg. Interest groups are actively seeking to influence close to two dozen state legislative races in Wisconsin and are almost certain to outspend the candidates in at least 15 of those races.

Interest groups are running TV ads in at least 10 state Assembly races, a money-is-no-object tactic that was virtually unheard of in Wisconsin before this year. Since the average TV market in Wisconsin spans about a dozen Assembly districts, television advertising in Assembly contests is an outrageously untargeted way of reaching voters in these races.

The Democracy Campaign's searchable database of contributors to state campaigns was updated yesterday to include donations to current legislative candidates through August 25.

It's official, the 2008 elections for president and Congress are already the most expensive in history. To read the report issued by national Center for Responsive Politics on the subject, go here.

A decision that will affect the lives of millions of Americans is going to be made on Election Day. And it's not about Obama or McCain. It's about something called "white spaces." For the whole story, go here.

Spread the word by sending this message to people you know. To support the Democracy Campaign's work, go here.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
210 North Bassett Street, Suite 215
Madison, WI 53703