The biggest Republican-leaning money machines are spending dramatically less to help the party ahead of the 2014 congressional elections.
Only a year ago, big-dollar conservative groups poured millions into unsuccessful campaigns against President Barack Obama and Democratic candidates, and the GOP failed to retake the White House and the Senate.
Outside spending on television ads designed to benefit Republican Senate candidates is down almost 60 percent compared with two years ago.
That's because the GOP's biggest allies say they're no longer willing to risk major investments on hard-line conservatives who embarrassed Republican leaders last fall.
Group officials report lingering concerns from major donors, especially after the government shutdown that highlighted the clash between the party's ideological and pragmatic wings.
By THOMAS BEAUMONT and STEVE PEOPLES, Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.