The impossibly complex world of campaign finance — in 1 chart

One of the lessons the general public (or at least some of them) have learned from the Internal Revenue Service scandal is that the world of campaign finance -- who can raise and spend what, where they can get the money and who they need to tell about it -- is incredibly complex.


Money.

How certain groups qualify for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(4) organization -- a distinction that allows them to keep both their donors and donations secret -- is the focus of the week (thanks to the buffoonery, at best, of some IRS officials) but it opens up (or should open up) a conversation about the vagaries of campaign finance law.

Below is a terrific chart from our friends at the Sunlight Foundation that details the incredible complicated world of money in politics.  Just try to follow all the ways that money can make it into the system. We dare you. (Click the chart for a bigger version.)

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.

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Chris Cillizza · May 17, 2013