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Outside money buys elections? In Illinois, not so much

SPRINGFIELD — Big spending by independent political groups in Illinois congressional campaigns went for naught. Winners in four of six competitive races for the U.S. House last week received less outside money than the losers.

An Associated Press analysis of federal data shows four dozen such independent committees spent $45 million in Illinois congressional contests — second only to California. The review shows 60 percent of that money went to losing campaigns.

Independent expenditure groups — including so-called "super PACs" — have few restrictions on raising and spending money in a campaign as long as they don't plan strategy with a candidate.

The biggest difference was in Democrat Tammy Duckworth's win over Republican Rep. Joe Walsh near Chicago. Outside groups spent nearly $6 million on Walsh's behalf but just $700,000 for Duckworth.

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