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MASON CITY | Campaign spending in Iowa more than tripled from 2012 to 2014, according to officials with Iowa Pays the Price.

Officials with the group shared results of its research Wednesday outlining the power of money in political campaigns.

"Our goal is really to educate Iowans on the amount of money in our political system as well as the type of money that is in our political system," Iowa Pays the Price co-chair Brad Anderson said.

The increase in 2014 marked the largest jump in history, according to the organization.

There was more money spent by outside groups with no ties to Iowa than ever before, Anderson said.

Anderson helped campaign in 2014 which included going door to door, encouraging people to vote. He said the onslaught of negative campaign ads took its toll on voters.

"I can't tell you how many times I heard, 'I am so sick of it, I'm not voting,'" Anderson said.

He said that 55,000 Iowans who requested absentee ballots did not vote. The organization is calling for more transparency from candidates and political action committees, or PACs.

Iowa Pays the Price blames the increase in spending on the Citizens United ruling in 2010. The Supreme Court gave corporations and unions the go ahead to spend unlimited funds on advertising and other political campaign tools to call for election or defeat of individual candidates.

Since the first-in-the-country Iowa caucuses are important for candidates, citizens are bombarded with campaigning and advertising.

"No other state in the country is like Iowa," Anderson said.

MapLight conducted the analysis for the report. Pamela Behrsin, MapLight's editorial director, said that the project for Iowa Pays the Price is unique.

"All this money is undermining our democratic process," Behrsin said.


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