8 Charts That Show How Political Spending Has Exploded Since Citizens United

Posted by Jay Riestenberg on January 21, 2015


Today marks 5 years since the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. These 8 charts show how money in elections has exploded since then.

1) In the first presidential election since the Citizens United decision, spending in federal elections by outside groups tripled.

Whose Voice A

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

2) Federal election spending by dark money political 501(c)(4) nonprofits grew drastically from $1.2 million in 2006 to $257 million in 2012.

Whose Voice B

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

3) Between 2000 and 2012, the amount members of Congress received from large donors increased on average, while the amount they receive from small donors has decreased.

Whose Voice C

Source: Common Cause analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics

4) Between 2000 and 2012, the amount of special interest campaign contributions from all sectors increased, but the amount corporate special interests contributions more than doubled.

Whose Voice D

Source: Common Cause analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics

5) It’s happening in the states too. In the 2014 election, the 1.5 million TV ads in state races cost $856 million.

Whose Voice E

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

6) During the 2014 midterm elections, Wall Street banks and financial institutions spent more than $102.3 million on federal political contributions in the 2014 cycle. Political spending by big banks in the 2014 midterm elections was more than double what the sector spent in 2010 ($40.4 million) and nearly triple the industry’s 2006 midterm contributions ($37 million).

Whose Voice 1

Source: Common Cause analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics

7) In the 2006 midterms, independent expenditures accounted for about 66% of the NRA’s total federal political spending. During the 2014 cycle, that number grew to 97%.

Whose Voice 3

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

8) In the 2014 election, energy special interests spent nearly $100 million on federal elections, more than a $20 million increase from industry spending on the 2010 midterm elections.

Whose Voice 2

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

This is the impact five years has had. Those lines are moving up pretty steadily - and our democracy is worse to show for it

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Money in Politics

Tags: Fighting Big Money

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