Spending mushrooms in new 'political ecosystem'


BOSTON (AP) — Outside groups that operated with few rules and limited oversight spent a record $1 billion to influence last year's election.

Politicians of all stripes griped about the meddling.

But few are working to change laws that ushered in an unprecedented season made possible by a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that erased years of campaign finance law.

Instead, political leaders and donors from both parties are preparing for the flow of outside money to intensify.

Already, new groups have formed and others are shaping plans to come back bigger and smarter.

What laws remain could become even looser as the Supreme Court weighs another high-profile decision.

And big donors who gave millions last fall — largely on the Republican side — are already lining up to do more.

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