(CNN) – The Senate Democratic leadership failed Thursday to muster up enough support for a bill that would have put new restrictions on political television advertising by special interest groups.
The attempt by Senate Democrats to break the Republican filibuster on the "DISCLOSE Act" means that organizations and groups running political TV commercials do not have to disclose who is funding the ads.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that such disclosure was not needed. Even if the Senate approved the measure, it likely would not have affected the midterm elections – and it would have only been enforceable in federal races.
So, how much is being spent by outside groups on TV ads in this election cycle, federal and state combined? Here are the staggering statistics:
· 167 different interest groups have spent $140 million so far on political television commercials in the 2010 election cycle. At this point in time in the last midterm election, 2006, less than half that amount was spent on TV ads.
· In 2010, 83 groups have run $54 million in commercials targeting federal races, while 84 organizations have spent $86 million on state contests.
And expect this number to more than double in the closing weeks.
"We are going to see more groups, more spending and more ads in the last 40 days of this election than we have seen in the previous nine months," said Evan Tracey, president of Campaign Media Analysis Group and CNN's consultant on TV advertising.
Tracey noted that organizations are free to run any political commercial right up to Election Day.