4 Years After Citizens United, Outside Campaign Spending Has Skyrocketed


On the 4-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which opened up elections to a flood of outside money, Chris Cillizza posts six charts showing how it’s affected campaign spending since 2010. The chart below, based on data from Open Secrets, shows spending on midterm elections through January 21 in order to get a clean comparison of 2014 with previous election years.

Up through 2006, outside spending at this point in the election cycle had been flat for years at a very low level. In 2010, we were on an upward trajectory even before the Citizens United decision was handed down. And 2014? With Citizens United now in full operation, the sluice gates have opened wide. Outside spending is 25 times higher than it was at this point in 2006. Welcome to the future of American elections.

But this is all a bit bloodless. For a more dramatic illustration of what this means in real life, check out Andy Kroll’s profile of the DeVos clan and how they use their Amway-driven fortune to support right-wing causes and defund the left.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate