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Eleven Shocking Facts About Campaign Finance | The Nation

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George Zornick

George Zornick

Action and dysfunction in the Beltway swamp. E-mail tips to george@thenation.com

Eleven Shocking Facts About Campaign Finance

It’s been two years since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, allowing a torrent of secret money to flow into the political process.

To be clear, the corrupting influence of big money was distorting the democratic process for years before that decision. But it unquestionably made the problem worse, exacerbating both the volume and secrecy of campaign donations.

Here’s eleven disturbing facts about the extent to which money is playing an increasing role in our politics:

    The amount of independent expenditure and electioneering communication spending by outside groups has quadrupled since 2006. [Center for Responsive Politics]

    The percentage of spending coming from groups that do not disclose their donors has risen from 1 percent to 47 percent since the 2006 mid-term elections. [Center for Responsive Politics]

    Campaign receipts for members of the House of Representatives totaled $1.9 billion in 2010—up from $781 million in 1998. [Committee for Economic Development]

    Outside groups spent more on political advertising in 2010 than party committees—for the first time in at least two decades. [Center for Responsive Politics]

    A shocking 72 percent of political advertising by outside groups in 2010 came from sources that were prohibited from spending money in 2006. [Committee for Economic Development]

    In 2004, 97.9 percent of outside groups disclosed their donors. In 2010, 34.0 percent did. [Committee for Economic Development]

    In 2010, the US Chamber of Commerce spent $31,207,114 in electioneering communications. The contributions for which it disclosed the donors: $0. [Committee for Economic Development]

    Only 26,783 Americans donated more than $10,000 to federal campaigns in 2010—or, about one in 10,000 Americans. Their donations accounted for 24.3 percent of total campaign donations. [Sunlight Foundation]

    Average donation from that elite group was $28,913. (The median individual income in America is $26,364) [Sunlight Foundation]

    Amount the Karl Rove–led Crossroads GPS says it will spend on the 2012 elections: $240 million. [On the Media]

    Amount that President Obama has raised from the financial sector already for his 2012 re-election: $15.6 million [Washington Post]

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