HISTORIC: ONE BILLION FOR HOUSE RACES, WATCHDOG PROJECTS

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Combined House and Senate candidate fundraising and spending will near $2 billion
Secret donations to outside groups has fueled -- and obscured -- dramatic jump in candidate fundraising and spending

Washington, D.C. – Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives will easily raise and spend more than a billion dollars for the first time ever, Public Campaign Action Fund projected today.

By the end of September, House candidates this election cycle raised 30 percent more and spent 54 percent more money than they had up to the same point in 2008. The analysis is based on data obtained from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

In 2008, House candidates raised $978 million and spent $938 million over the full election cycle. This year, Public Campaign Action Fund projects that House candidates will raise nearly $1.3 billion and spend more than $1.4 billion, eating into the cash on hand amounts carried from election to election.

“Candidates are raising more money in 2010 than ever before, and spending it at a much quicker pace than 2008,” said David Donnelly, director of the organization’s Campaign Money Watch project. “With all the attack ads, candidates have to spend more time dialing for dollars and less time talking with voters. They have to feed the beast – the endless raising and spending for campaigns – that is devouring our democracy.”

Senate races are also seeing a surge in fundraising and spending. According to a Washington Post prediction, Senate candidates are on pace to raise and spend more than $500 million, placing the combined total between House and Senate candidates nearing $2 billion.

The key points from Public Campaign Action Fund’s analysis are:

  • By the end of the 2008 election cycle, House candidates had raised and spent $978.4 million and $938.0 million, respectively. House candidates raised 27.7 percent of their total receipts and spent 49.2 percent of their total spending after the third quarter (Tables 1 and 2)
  • U.S. House candidates raised $921.5 million and spent $733.4 million through the third quarter of 2010, amounting to a 30.3 percent increase in fundraising and 54 percent increase in spending from 2008 (Tables 3 and 4).
  • If 2010 candidates continue the pace of fundraising and spending they, as a group, set in 2008, the projected total of 2010 fundraising would reach $1.275 billion and spending would hit $1.445 billion.
  • The projection of $1.275 billion in fundraising for the 2010 cycle represents a doubling of fundraising since the 2000 election. The projection of $1.445 billion in spending is two-and-a-half times the amount spent in 2000 (Table 5).
  • The analysis also shows an imbalance in fundraising and spending between the major parties. Republican House candidates raised approximately $30 million more than Democrats through the third quarter in 2010. In the 2008 election at this time, the Republicans had raised nearly $64 million less.

“To only focus on the outside secret money misses the full story of what is happening in races all over the country,” said Donnelly. “Increased fundraising from wealthy donors, coupled with the secret outside money, is putting our elections further into the hands of relatively few Americans. Regardless of the outcome next Tuesday, Congress should come back to Washington and immediately address the problem of special interest money in our elections by passing the Fair Elections Now Act.”

Table #1: Money Raised
*projection

 

Raised, through 3rd Q

Raised, total cycle

2008

$707,416,822

$978,434,442

2010

$921,541,375

$1,274,590,197*

 

Table #2: Money Spent
*projection

 

Spent, through 3rd Q

Spend rate

Spent, total cycle

Spend rate

2008

$476,115,530

67.3%

$938,040,528

95.9%

2010

$733,370,808

79.6%

$1,444,883,640*

113.3%*

 

Table #3: Party Breakdown and Fundraising Percent Increase

 

2008 Raised through 3rd Q

2010 Raised through 3rd Q

% increase raised

Republicans

$319,992,175

$474,208,425

48.2%

Democrats

$383,767,342

$443,603,681

15.6%

Minor/independents

$3,657,305

$3,729,269

2.0%

Total

$707,416,822

$921,541,375

30.3%

 

Table #4: Party Breakdown and Spending Percent Increase

 

2008 Spent through 3rd Q

2010 Spent through 3rd Q

% increase spent

Republicans

$227,531,695

$366,494,204

61.1%

Democrats

$245,953,597

$363,509,357

47.8%

Minor/independents

$2,630,238

$3,367,247

28.0%

Total

$476,115,530

$733,370,808

54.0%

 

Table #5: Total Fundraising, Spending since 2000
*projected

Cycle

Fundraising

Increase

Spending

Increase

2000

$600,277,618

--

$563,454,141

--

2002

$637,813,662

6.3%

$607,953,452

7.9%

2004

$696,757,577

9.2%

$645,495,423

6.2%

2006

$871,676,012

25.1%

$854,918,676

32.4%

2008

$978,434,442

12.2%

$938,040,528

9.7%

2010*

$1,274,590,197

30.3%

$1,444,883,640

54.0%

 

 

 

 

 

2000

$600,277,618

--

$563,454,141

--

2010*

$1,274,590,197

112.3%

$1,444,883,640

156.4%

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Public Campaign Action Fund and its Campaign Money Watch project work to hold politicians who are against comprehensive campaign finance reform accountable for where they get their political donations. Learn more at www.campaignmoneywatch.com.