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Outside groups spending millions in Illinois House races: The least in Walsh/Duckworth

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Updated with Duckworth react....

WASHINGTON--Outside groups are spending millions of dollars in Illinois House races with the most, so far, in a hotly contested race in central Illinois and the least in the Chicago area battle between Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and Democrat Tammy Duckworth, according to Federal Election Commission records.

It appears that Duckworth's lead in the north/northwest suburban district has convinced outside groups--overall-- to keep their spending down. A close race between Rep. Bobby Schillling (R-Ill.) v Democrat Cheri Bustos in a district anchored near Peoria has spurred a spending war.

The FEC requires outside groups to report independent expenditures for or against a candidate. Outside spending is separate than money raised for a candidates' campaign. Independent expenditures consist of spending by individuals, groups, political committees, unions or corporations.

Under the rules, "these expenditures may not be made in concert or cooperation with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate, the candidate's campaign or a political party," according to the FEC.

With the election this close, spending above $1,000 must be reported to the FEC on a daily basis. The money is not divided equally. Duckworth spokesman Anton Becker said, "the ratio of outside spending is 10 to 1 against us and for Joe Walsh. I don't think the ratio is that one sided in the other races."

Here is the top spending in the most contested Illinois House races as of Monday, according to the FEC:

8th Congressional District, Walsh v Duckworth
$3,724,110.55

10th Congressional District, Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) v Democrat Brad Schneider
$5,525,443.63

11th Congressional District, Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) v former Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.)
$7,315,025.71

12th Congressional District, Democrat William Enyart v Republican Jason Plummer
$5,469,597.78

13th Congressional District, Democrat David Gill v Republican Rodney Davis
$6,126,116.61

17th Congressional District, Rep. Bobby Schillling (R-Ill.) v Democrat Cheri Bustos
$8,202,639.41

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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