The Fix: Money

Did McCain-Feingold work? These guys say no.

Did McCain-Feingold work? These guys say no.

It's been a decade since the sweeping campaign finance law pushed through the Senate by John McCain and Russ Feingold took effect. And, according to two prominent campaign finance experts -- one Democrat, one Republican -- 10 years is enough.

Writing in Campaigns & Elections magazine, former Federal Election Committee Chairman Don McGahn and former Democratic National Committee deputy general counsel Neil Reiff argue:

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The 1 chart on billionaires you need to see

Did you know that of the 1,645 billionaires in the world 492 of them (roughly 30 percent) call the United States home? (China is second with 152 billionaires.) Or that World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon is a new member of the billionaires club? (His wife, Linda, dropped $100 million on two unsuccessful Senate bids in Connecticut. Chump change!) Or, for the more politically inclined of us, that three of the 10 richest billionaires -- David Koch ($40 billion), Charles Koch ($40 billion) and Sheldon Adelson ($38 billion) -- are major Republican donors?

This awesome -- and awesomely long -- infographic from investingtips360.com based off of information from Forbes has all of those fun facts and many more. Enjoy.

91% of the time the better-financed candidate wins. Don’t act surprised.

91% of the time the better-financed candidate wins. Don’t act surprised.

There are few talking points more beloved by underdog political candidates (and their aides) than to declare that money doesn't matter. (If it did, Steve Forbes would be the president!)

Well, they're wrong -- at least most of the time.

Take a look at the chart below, created last month by Jasper McChesney, a designer at United Republic, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tries to spread awareness about the influence of money in politics.

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From George Washington to Shaun McCutcheon: A brief-ish history of campaign finance reform.

From George Washington to Shaun McCutcheon: A brief-ish history of campaign finance reform.

Updated 9:15 a.m.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided to eliminate limits on aggregate campaign contributions in the case McCutcheon v. FEC. Many people watching the case had called it the sequel to Citizens United. However, it's more like the latest, inevitable film of an unending franchise. McCutcheon v. FEC is probably more like the Saw IV of campaign finance, at least as far as reformers are concerned. For those who agree with the Supreme Court's latest decisions, McCutcheon v. FEC is probably more like the latest Land Before Time movie -- returning us back to a land with founding fathers and without election filings and regulation.

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Why McCutcheon is good news for Republicans

Why McCutcheon is good news for Republicans

In ending aggregate donation limits for individual contributors, the Supreme Court may have given Republicans an edge in the unending race for campaign cash.

Here's why. According to a Sunlight Foundation analysis of the top 1,000 donors in the 2012 election -- the people who, theoretically, have the money and the wherewithal to drop oodles of cash into future races -- nearly two thirds of them give exclusively or heavily to Republican causes. Writes Sunlight's Lee Drutman:

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Winners and losers from the McCutcheon v. FEC ruling

Winners and losers from the McCutcheon v. FEC ruling

The Supreme Court on Tuesday morning struck down a 40-year-old ban on aggregate contributions that a single donor can give to candidates and party committees. In short, the court's ruling means that a single contributor is no longer capped on how many candidates and party committees he/she can give to in a given election cycle. It keeps in place the federal campaign limits that restrict how much a donor can give to any one candidate or to any one party committee.

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The 2012 election -- by pay

The 2012 election -- by pay

8:38 p.m. Correction: NOI spokesman Evan Sutton said the figures were initially incorrectly calculated in the group’s analysis. “The data is really inconsistent when you break down the individual transaction reports,” he said. This post has been updated with the accurate numbers now provided by NOI. Seven -- not 10 -- of the highest-paid Romney staffers made more than any Obama staffer.

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A brief history of politicians complaining about their six-figure salaries

A brief history of politicians complaining about their six-figure salaries

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) on Wednesday became the latest politician to fall victim to the desire to complain about a six-figure salary.

NRO’s Jonathan Strong reported that Gingrey said in a closed-door meeting that staff may not make a lot of money on Capitol Hill, “but in a few years they can just go to K Street and make $500,000 a year. Meanwhile I’m stuck here making $172,000.”

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Elizabeth Colbert Busch's big-time financial advantage, in two charts

Elizabeth Colbert Busch's big-time financial advantage, in two charts

The race between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch is pretty even with voters heading to the polls today. What hasn't been even -- not by a long shot -- is the money battle, which has heavily favored Colbert Busch.

House Majority PAC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have spent big to boost Colbert Busch, while national Republicans have left Sanford out to dry. The result has been an incredibly one-sided outside-group spending war, as the chart below shows. The data come from a Sunlight Foundation tally of independent expenditures.

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The most expensive votes of 2012, in one chart

The most expensive votes of 2012, in one chart

Running a campaign is expensive. In some cases, it's very expensive.

Thanks to a handy new chart from the Sunlight Foundation, it's easy to see exactly how pricey the election was for the congressional candidates who spent the most money per eligible voter and vote during the 2012 cycle.

The chart features 20 congressional candidates who spent at least $35 per vote and includes the amount each one spent per eligible voter:

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Senate GOP forced to play plenty of defense, despite majority hopes

Despite a very good map at the start of the cycle, Senate Republicans have had to spend more than 40 percent of their money on defense in the final weeks of the 2012 campaign.

A review of spending by the Republican and Democratic senatorial committees’ independent expenditure arms — perhaps the best way to suss out which races are the most competitive — reveals that Republicans so far have spent 59 percent of their funds on Democratic-held seats (offense) and 41 percent on Republican-held seats (defense).

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Tim Kaine raises $4.5 million in the third quarter, outpacing George Allen

Former Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine hauled $4.5 million during the third quarter of 2012, about $1 million more than former senator George Allen (R), who brought in about $3.5 million. 

Both Kaine and Allen enjoyed their most productive fundraising quarter of the cycle. Both spent big, too. Kaine finished the period with $1 million in the bank while Allen ended with about $2.6 million in the bank, meaning they both spent more than they took in during July, August, and September. 

Kaine’s campaign has invested heavily on airtime for ads, dedicating $7.5 million so far, including a recent $3 million purchase.

Kaine and Allen are both former governors and, as a result, very well-known figures in Virginia. Polls have shown a competitive race, but Kaine appears to have more momentum of late. The most recent Washington Post survey shows Kaine leading Allen 51 percent to 43 percent, after the previous two polls showed a tie. 

Updated at 10:55 a.m.

The battle for the House — in one chart

The battle for the House — in one chart

We wrote Monday about how Republicans are playing a surprising amount of offense in the battle for the House in 2012.

While Democrats have spent 70 percent of their funds on GOP-held seats, Republicans have spent less than half their funds defending those seats. Instead, Republicans are going after a bunch of Democratic-held seats and hoping, for lack of a better sports cliche, that the best defense is a good offense.

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How the presidential campaigns are spending money, in one chart

Fundraising receives a great deal of attention in politics. But looking at how campaigns and outside groups decide to spend money can be just as revealing. 

If it seems as if various organizations are bringing in and shelling out eye-popping heaps of cash in the presidential election, it’s because that’s exactly what’s happening. As The Washington Post’s 2012 Presidential Campaign Finance Explorer shows, President Obama and his allies (including the national Democratic party, a joint fundraising committee, and super PACs) have raised $775 million and spent $606 million. Mitt Romney and his allies have raised even more ($784 million) and spent $534 million. 

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Romney started general election with big cash advantage

Romney started general election with big cash advantage

Mitt Romney started the general election this month with a sizeable advantage in cash on hand, according to reports filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

The August reports show that, while President Obama’s campaign had much more cash than Romney’s, by a margin of $88.8 million to $50.4 million, when you factor in the national party committees and joint fundraising committees that raise money for both the campaigns and the national parties, Romney leads $168.5 million to $125.2 million.

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Outside campaign cash worries voters

Outside campaign cash worries voters

Three-quarters of voters are concerned about campaign ads from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The broad sentiment is boiling in an election year in which spending from nontraditional sources has skyrocketed.



Liberals offer the sharpest reaction to the flood of outside ad spending — more than eight in 10 are concerned, including more than six in 10 who are “very concerned.” Liberals may be reacting, at least in part, to a sense that big spending from outside groups has been a boon to supporters of Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Nearly seven in 10 liberals say Romney is the chief beneficiary of outside campaign spending.

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Obama outraised Romney $114 million to $111.6 million in August

Obama outraised Romney $114 million to $111.6 million in August

This post was updated at 9:09 a.m.

President Obama’s campaign narrowly outraised Mitt Romney’s in August after a streak of three months in which the Republicans’ campaign far outpaced the incumbent president’s.

Obama’s campaign announced this morning that he raised $114 million, while Romney’s announced that it raised $111.6 million.

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An Akin exit could cost GOP significant $$$

An Akin exit could cost GOP significant $$$

Updated at 5:15 p.m. with new timetable for ballot printing.

National Republicans said Tuesday that they won’t spend a dime to help elect Rep. Todd Akin to the U.S. Senate. But if they can persuade him to drop out, they might have to pony up some significant cash.

The deadline passed Tuesday for Akin to easily and instantly drop out of the Senate race in Missouri.Republicans still have more than a month during which they can prevail upon him to step down, but he would have to seek a court order.

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Romney grows cash advantage on Obama

Mitt Romney extended his cash edge over President Obama in July and entered the final three-plus months of the campaign with about 50 percent more in the bank than the incumbent president.

Romney led Obama in cash on hand at the end of July $185.9 million to $123.7 million, according to numbers released by the Romney campaign and filed with the FEC by Obama’s campaign.

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Newt Gingrich super PAC forms

Newt Gingrich super PAC forms

A former aide to frontrunning presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has created a super PAC to raise unlimited sums to help his candidacy.

The group, called Winning Our Future, is lead by Becky Burkett, a former top fundraiser for American Solutions for Winning the Future, an orgaization that Gingrich founded to promote his political views while he left office in 1998.

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Rick Perry mocks “Oops” moment in new TV ad

Rick Perry mocks “Oops” moment in new TV ad

Give Texas Gov. Rick Perry this much: He’s got a sense of humor.

In a new television ad that will run in Iowa, a clip of Perry forgetting the third department he would eliminate if elected president is shown. Then Perry himself appears on screen and says “department of Energy”. (That’s the department he forgot.)

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2012 campaign ad spending tops $23 million

2012 campaign ad spending tops $23 million

More than $23 million has been spent on campaign television ads so far in the 2012 election with the conservative-aligned outside group American Crossroads accounting for nearly half of that total, according to an analysis of data by the Washington Post.

American Crossroads, which is incorporated as a super PAC, and its affiliate Crossroads GPS, a not-for-profit organization, have dumped $11.2 million into television ads in states across the country as of Nov. 20. Crossroads has focused its spending, not surprisingly, in and around the Washington, D.C. media market — $1.2 million in ad disbursements — but has also spent big money in the Denver ($805,000) and Tampa ($539,000) media markets.

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