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Tag Archive: Outside money

Final look at outside spenders’ 2012 return on investment

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The controversy over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of Tea Party groups has put a spotlight on the non-profit groups that played such a prominent role in the 2012 campaign. The groups have become popular conduits for political funds because, unlike political action committees, they do not have to disclose donors to the Federal Election Commission. While most of the groups whose applications the IRS slow-walked were relatively small givers, many groups that did land non-profit status gave big. Check out this page to see the "social welfare" non-profits who made political expenditures in the 2012 election cycle. Because of the interest, the Sunlight Foundation has decided to update the Return on Investment feature we first published the day after the election. This analysis looks at more than 100,000 lines of itemized expenditures made by outside spending groups (super PACS as well as 501(c) non profits) and calculates the amount of money that went toward the desired result on Election Day. Our update accounts for updated filings and amendments at the Federal Election Commission and our own data cleanup. For more details on each group listed below click on the “see ROI breakdown” button. You can sort by general election spending, candidate, support or oppose, and election result.

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Outside Money in the House: Six Graphs and Seven Takeaways

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Outside money is flooding into U.S. House races, primarily from party committees, but also significantly from dark money groups and super PACs. And though Democrats need to win 25 seats to take back the House (which most forecasters deem unlikely), nobody is giving up on anything, judging from the recent cash infusions. We are now at $218.8 million in House outside spending, with almost one-third of that money coming in the last 10 days, and more than half of it coming since October 1. Republicans lead in outside money $119.6 million to $96.7 million, including a two-to-one lead in dark money. Democratic super PACs, meanwhile, have outspent Republican super PACs. What this money all adds up to, we are still waiting to see. For now, the best we can do is to give our best take on the current state of play.

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Outside Money in the Senate: One map, four graphs and seven takeaways

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Outside money continues to pour in at a record pace this election cycle, and beyond the presidential race, the biggest general election spending totals are all in Senate races: $29.7 million in Virginia; $24.6 million in Ohio; $22.2 million in Wisconsin; $18.5 million in Nevada; $16.3 million in Montana. And counting. All told, outside groups have dropped $189.4 million into Senate races as of October 23. And no wonder: the Senate remains very much up for grabs, and the parties are very close in their levels of outside spending – unlike both the presidential and House races, where Republicans have the outside spending edge. In the Senate outside money chase, Republicans have a very narrow lead, $97.3 million to $92.1 million. Of particular interest is that Republicans are relying much more on non-party organizations – primarily Crossroads GPS and the Chamber of Commerce – that don’t have to disclose their donors and only have to report their spending within 60 days of an election. Among these types of groups, Republicans lead Democrats $56.2 million to $24.6 million. And significantly, while party committees are limited in the amount of money they can raise from any one individual ($30,800 per cycle), groups like Crossroads GPS and the Chamber can receive unlimited contributions. By contrast, Democrats are still relying much more on the traditional party structure. First, an overview of the outside spending, by state:

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Super PAC spending crosses $100 million: Where did it all go?

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Now that super PACs' spending in the 2012 election has just crossed the $100 million spending mark—more than twice the amount spent in independent campaign expenditures by all outside groups at this point in the 2008 election--Sunlight decided to reflect on what else voters might have gotten for all that money.

With $100 million, you could:

  • Pay the annual tuition for 2,207 students at most expensive undergraduate education in the country—Columbia University;
  • Snap up 632 median-priced single-family homes in metropolitan areas from the country's housing market;
  • Fill the tank of the most gas-guzzling SUV—a Chevrolet ...

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