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Michael Toner Talks Election Fundraising on NPR’s ‘Talk of the Nation’

NPR
August 20, 2012

Michael Toner, co-chair of Wiley Rein Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, was a guest on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” to discuss the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.  Current reporting estimates the races will be the most expensive on record, at a potential cost of nearly $6 billion.

Mr. Toner, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and general counsel of the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign in 2000, told host John Donvan there is no question that with the changing media landscape, running a presidential campaign is much more costly than in previous election cycles.

“I think there's a number of factors that are in play here, John. First of all, the cost of communicating in America, a country as broad and diverse as this one, is very, very expensive. You think of presidential campaigns today versus, say, 20 or 30 years ago,” said Mr. Toner.  “You have hundreds and hundreds of cable television outlets today. If you want to reach a diverse community in all of these battleground states, you can't just place an ad anymore on ABC or NBC or even CNN. You've got all these channels that people spend a lot of time watching.”

In response to estimates that nearly $6 billion will be spent on the 2012 presidential and congressional races, Mr. Toner noted that Americans spend approximately $7 billion a year on potato chips, $7 billion annually on Halloween decorations and candy, and $17 billion per year on Valentine's Day.  “I love candies as much as the next person but isn't the next leader of the country worth at least this much money?” Mr. Toner inquired. 

To listen to the entire NPR interview, click here.