Republican Scott Walker of Wisconsin became the first governor in U.S. history to beat back a recall effort this week. He didn't do it alone. He had the help of rich friends across the nation. This leaves a queasy feeling that U.S. elections are increasingly for sale.
Total spending on 15 Wisconsin recall races, including the one targeting Gov. Walker, will easily top $125 million, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which tracks campaign dollars in the land of cheese. It estimates that spending on Walker's race by the candidates and outside groups will reach between $75 million and $80 million.
Walker's campaign raised at least $31 million. By comparison, his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, raised only $4 million. Walker was helped by a quirk in Wisconsin election law that allowed him to accept unlimited contributions during the five months before the recall election was officially declared.