So far in the 2011-2012 election cycle, the top 150 consulting companies have brought in $465.76 million, according to a survey of federal spending reports conducted by the Huffington Post, out of a total of $1.24 billion spent on electioneering overall thus far. Projecting into the future, HuffPo predicts that the consulting industry overall could take in up to $3 billion, more than a third of a projected $8 billion spending across the board
The boom for consultants is fueling the negative attacks many are already complaining about in the campaign, HuffPo reports:
With no purer nor baser motive than the old-fashioned desire to make a buck, consultants in 2012 are amplifying the negative environment, adapting the tools of community engagement to the new warfare, serving as the (barely) legal connective tissue between candidates and supposedly independent PACs and other entities, and schooling millionaires and billionaires in the arts of political combat without having to bother with the braking mechanism of political parties, candidates or candidates' families and friends.
"The whole industry is not only becoming bigger and more lucrative, but more negative," said Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21. "The consultants go where the money is; the money is in outside spending; the outside spending is almost uniformly negative."
HuffPo surveyed spending reports from party committees, House races and some Senate races.