What Does an Election Cost?


Sunlight feels strongly that Congress needs to respond to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, and require disclosure for newly allowed political spending from corporations and unions.

The scale of the new money that could now flow, unfollowed, into our politics can be hard to fathom.

That’s why I’ve made the following chart, to create a sense of scale.

Layers Drawing.jpg

BP’s profits in the first quarter of 2010 were about $6 Billion.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, The entire 2008 federal election, including “all dollars spent by presidential candidates, senate and house candidates, political parties and independent interest groups trying to influence federal elections”…

…cost about $5 Billion.

Update: To clarify, this was hand drawn by me (on the LayersPro Ipad app), to elucidate the fact that one quarter of profits of one company are greater than an entire American election, and its design should reflect only my limited finger doodling skills, and not those of Sunlight’s talented design team. :)

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  • John Thacker

    How about a chart comparing the price of TARP and the auto bailout to the amount of money spent on the election? Or the proposed value of the cap-and-trade legislation that BP favors (and the value in giving away the permits instead of auctioning them)? Or the proposed value of the fund to be established to pay for the damages that BP’s well has caused?

    Clearly the amount of money that could now flow into our election depends on two things:
    1) The amount of money that the corporations and unions have, but also
    2) The possible value of what’s at stake.

    Considering prong 2 as well demonstrates that a lot more money could flow into the election; getting cap and trade passed with its preferred bill could make BP millions or billions.

  • K

    Beautiful work, JW.