Who Owns Your Politician?

Where Election Money Comes from and What Happens to It

Vote for ME

If there is one thing that good investigative reporting and accounting have in common is that they both follow the money.

Politicians are spin masters with staffs of people to help them carefully construct an image that they want you to believe in. But beyond these polished appearances, the money trailing from this faced tells a different story. Every election cycle, politicians raise millions in funds to support their campaigns.

But who is giving them this money?

When there are millions of dollars involved, it’s a good idea to keep track of what it’s doing. Politicians spend this money to convince you to vote for them. But after all the money and stump speeches, who gets elected depends on YOUR vote.

Here’s a look at how much money is involved in the 2016 election cycle and where that money comes from.

 

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Who Owns Your Politician?

It’s an election year and the political machine is rearing to go. Millions are spent each year to sway the vote, and when we say millions, we mean MILLIONS. Here’s a look at what the major parties in America have raised this election cycle:

  • Presidential fundraising total – $838,314,726
  • Republican – $459,637,478
  • Democrat – $377,328,834
  • House fundraising total – $590,725,446
  • Republican – $259,872,205
  • Democrat – $3330,434,567
  • Senate fundraising total – $423,086,753
  • Republican – $242,601,721
  • Democrat – $179,648,642

As of June in the 2015-216 election cycle so far, both parties have raised a ton of money, a whopping total of $1,852,126,956. That’s enough to:

  • Pay for 26,253 accounting degrees
  • Feed 6,408,744 families (of 4) for a week
  • Pay the copay for 86,025,404 doctor visits

That’s a lot of money, and every election cycle raises more money than the last. But where does this money come from?

Following the Money – The Industries that Donate

Some of this money comes from individual donors. Some of this money comes from Super PACs, political action committees that can raise unlimited sums of money. Organizations and individuals from all kinds of industries donate money to these groups to effect political change.

  • Securities & Investments – $182,458,278
    • Republican 76%
    • Democrat 21%
  • Real Estate – $45,511,944
    • Republican 74%
    • Democrat 15%
  • Finance – $36,201,626
    • Republican 53%
    • Democrat 30%
  • Oil & Gas – $26,550,341
    • Republican 76%
    • Democrat 21%
  • Retired – $25,100,225
    • Republican 78%
    • Democrat 16%
  • Environment – $25,100,225
    • Republican 1%
    • Democrat 90%
  • Not-for-profit – $21,842,475
    • Republican 25%
    • Democrat 73%
  • Building & Trade Unions – $21,038,909
    • Republican 7%
    • Democrat 92%
  • Insurance – $18,287,387
    • Republican 99%
    • Democrat 1%
  • Retail Sales – $14,657,662
    • Republican 96%
    • Democrat 3%
  • TV/Movies/Music – $13,971,099
    • Republican 26%
    • Democrat 72%
  • Printing & Publishing – $13,295,728
    • Republican 4%
    • Democrat 95%
  • Electronics Manufacturing – $13,295,728
    • Republican 86%
    • Democrat 13%
  • Automotive – $10,093,091
    • Republican 98%
    • Democrat 1%
  • Pharmaceuticals – $7,803,086
    • Republican 66%
    • Democrat 32%
  • Lawyers/Law firms – $7,194,603
    • Republican 76%
  • Democrat 21%

What Do Politicians Spend Campaign Money On?

TV Media Ads, Media Production, Rent, utilities, events, payrolls, campaign promotions, Telemarketing, data management, consulting services, travel

In 2012 Obama and Romney spent a combined total of $1.17 billion in their campaigns. How much will this year’s candidates spend? Odds are a lot more.

Does all of this money buy a victory? Economists and public service analysts argue that money is only a small part of the equation. Money spent without a good message is a disaster. A good message without money is not enough. This election year politicians will spend millions trying to convince you that their message is the right message you should listen to. But after all that money is spent, the choice is yours.

 

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