The 2012 campaign has barely even started but there's already a big winner: political consultants. HuffPost launched a series today on the huge payday that political consultants are having in the 2012 race with the presidential contest, super PACs, and everything else pumping up the money to unheard of levels. HuffPost reports, "A survey of federal spending reports by The Huffington Post, the most comprehensive of its kind this year, shows that the top 150 consulting companies -- media, fundraising, digital/social, direct mail and others -- have grossed $465.76 million so far in the 2011-12 electoral season, out of a total of $1.24 billion spent. The totals reflect presidential campaigns, super PACs registered with the Federal Election Commission, party committees, House races and some data on Senate races. (See the accompanying chart of top firms and slideshow of prominent consultants.) These figures presage an eventual take for the consulting industry of as much as $3 billion if, as some expect, total spending on all levels of campaigns tops out at some $8 billion this time (compared with $6 billion in 2007-08 and $4 billion in 2003-4). The top 15 payees in the consulting business this year have already received $214.47 million, even though they won't get the bulk of their payments -- 57 percent of the total, if the 2008 Obama campaign's spending is any guide -- until the last three months of the campaign. In the 2008 elections, the top 15 took in $400 million for the whole cycle. At their current pace, they will exceed that by at least $100 million."

Stay tuned for more reports on political consultants from HuffPost all this week.

Bill Clinton is not only raising money for the Obama campaign, but also for the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action, according to Bloomberg.

Condoleeza Rice will headline a fundraiser for ShePAC, a super PAC supporting Republican women candidates, according to Yahoo News.

Former congressman turned lobbyist Martin Frost blames the surge in outside money on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law.

California Watch finds that the top 100 donors in the state have contributed $1.25 billion to state-level candidates over the past dozen years.

Democratic super PACs are targeting an independent candidate in a California House district who made an ad in which she proclaims her love for Rocky Road ice cream.

Don't forget to follow the Scott Walker recall election -- featuring a 7-1 Walker fundraising advantage -- as HuffPost provides live coverage tonight.

AD WATCH

Help us populate our list of campaign videos. Send any notable TV, radio or web ads that you see to Fundrace. Send your submissions to paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.

Committee: Mitt Romney for President
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot (Spanish Language): "Desprimente"
Spot (English Language): "Dismal"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Crossroads GPS
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Stopwatch"
Market: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Buy: ~$7 million.

Committee: Barack Obama for President
Candidate Supported: Tom Barrett
Spot: "It's Time Wisconsin: Own Your Vote"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Barack Obama for President
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Stephanie Cutter: The Romney Campaign's Double Standard"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: American Future Fund
Candidate Opposed: Martin Heinrich
Spot: "Priority"
Market: New Mexico.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Jon Brunner for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Sarah Steelman, Todd Akin
Spot: "Manufacturing Comparison"
Market: Missouri.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Heidi Heitkamp for Senate
Spot: "Never Wait"
Market: North Dakota.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Hector Balderas for Senate
Spot: "Underdogs"
Market: New Mexico.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: National Republican Congressional Committee
Candidate Opposed: Ron Barber
Spot: "Of Course"
Market: Arizona's 8th District.
Buy: ~$188,992.

Committee: Ben Quayle for Congress
Spot: "Evie"
Market: Arizona's 9th District.
Buy: Undisclosed.

TRACKING INDEPENDENT SPENDING:

These numbers represent spending by independent groups, like super PACs and non-profits, to support or oppose a particular candidate in 2012. Fundrace will update this spending daily to help show which candidates are gaining from the proliferation of independent groups in this coming election.

Presidential Race:
Mitt Romney (R), $7,327,516 to support, $12,382,717 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $491,730 to support, $1,365,554 to oppose. (Oppose: +$7,000)

Most Outside Spending for Congressional Candidates:
TX-Senate: Ted Cruz (R), $827,640 to support, $2,301,841 to oppose.
TX-Senate: David Dewhurst (R), $363,000 to support, $2,481,715 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Richard Mourdock (R), $1,423,990 to support, $633,609 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Dick Lugar (R), $208,628 to support, $1,671,841 to oppose.
OR-01: Rob Cornilles (R), $98,051 to support, $1,219,148 to oppose.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

American Crossroads, $33,084 to support Jesse Kelly for Congress in Arizona's 8th District.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, $2,187 to support Dianne Feinstein for Senate in California.
National Republican Congressional Committee, $188,992 to oppose Ron Barber for Congress in Arizona's 8th District.
United Food & Commercial Workers International Union Active Ballot Club, $21,226 to support Barack Obama for President.
Club for Growth Action, $55,197 to support Kevin Cramer for Congress in North Dakota's At-Large District.
Club for Growth Action, $5,018 to oppose Brian Kalk for Congress in North Dakota's At-Large District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $500 to oppose Charles Rangel for Congress in New York's 15th District.
Restore America's Voice, $7,000 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
Committee to Elect An Effective Valley Congressman, $77,361 to support Howard Berman for Congress in California's 30th District.
FreedomWorks for America, $28,000 to support Jesse Kelly for Congress in Arizona's 8th District.
FreedomWorks for America, $28,049 to support Bruce Poliquen for Senate in Maine.
FreedomWorks for America, $3,049 to support Kevin Cramer for Congress in North Dakota's At-Large District.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

NONE.

Send tips, hints, submissions, rumors to HuffPost Fundrace at paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.

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