9 Incredible Campaign Money Stats

Phil Stafford/<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=justin+bieber&search_group=#id=103438697&src=3045df60c68b34188aefda5cbe10add4-1-7">Shutterstock</a> (Bieber); Loskutnikov/<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=pile+cash&search_group=&orient=&search_cat=&searchtermx=&photographer_name=&people_gender=&people_age=&people_ethnicity=&people_number=&commercial_ok=&color=&show_color_wheel=1#id=81124306&src=abcbd816393dabef013f6fceb7c52315-1-4">Shutterstock</a> (money)

We’re about to wrap up the most expensive election in US history—and also the first presidential election awash in unrestricted super-PAC cash and dark-money. Some stats (read on, Bieber fans):

1. Estimated amount of disclosed spending in the 2012 election: $6 billion

2. Amount of dark money (money with no donor disclosure) spent in the 2008 election: $70 million

Minimum amount of dark money known to have been spent on the 2012 election: $213 million

3. Amount super-PACs, dark money groups, and other outside groups spent in October: $526 million

4. Percentage of all super-PAC money from just 163 people who gave $500,000 or more: 70 percent

5. Percentage of outside spending coming from disclosed donors in 2004: 96.5 percent

Percentage in 2012: 40.5 percent

6. Amount the Koch brothers are known to have donated to candidates and parties in 2012: $411,000

Amount of dark money they have pledged to spent to defeat Barack Obama: $60 milion

7. Percentage of dark money spent on federal elections that went to electing Republicans and defeating Democrats: 80 percent

8. Percentage of the 1 million-plus ads run by the Obama and Romney campaigns and their allies between April and October that were negative: 87 percent

9. Number of news segments about outside spending groups on Milwaukee stations in the two weeks before Wisconsin’s June recall election: 0

Number of news segments about Justin Bieber during that time: 53 

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money


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  • Andy Kroll

    Andy Kroll is an investigative reporter at Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here. Follow him on Twitter here. Send tips, scoops, and documents to akroll (at) motherjones (dot) com.