WASHINGTON – Voters may not know it, but large companies and national advocacy groups are paying for the millions of dollars in ads about ballot measures they will consider on Election Day.
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Many of the messages are tailored to defend or expand the bottom lines for companies such as Coca-Cola and agriculture giant Monsanto — yet few of the corporate patrons have their names in the ads.
Through Monday, TV ad spending on ballot issues totaled roughly $119 million. That's according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data from media tracking service Kantar Media/CMAG.
Voters are considering 158 such statewide ballot initiatives this year, down from the 184 they considered in 2010. But this year already has surpassed the $87 million spent on TV ads in 2010.