State ballot initiatives see millions of dollars in political spending from corporate giants

Markets Associated Press

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.