It looks like the wealthy donors are emptying their wallets for 2016’s presidential election. Bloomberg estimates that spending for the 2016 elections may approach $10 billion, far outpacing 2012’s $7 billion.
Every quarter, candidates in the running for 2016 must file reports with the federal election commission on their finances. This past October, all our presidential hopefuls filed their last report of the year. As of now, the 2016 presidential campaign is way ahead of recent election cycles in terms of contributions. And the majority of the money mostly comes from super PACs, and not from candidate committees, which can only accept $2,700 per election from individuals.
According to the New York Times, 2016 candidates have accepted more than $262.4 million from outside donations -- i.e. Super PACs that are not subjected to campaign limits. So far, both republican and democratic candidates have accepted at least $277.8 million in unlimited donations compared to 2012, when the candidates only accepted $15.4 million.
But how do these Super PACs work?
According to the website OpenSecrets.org, which tracks campaign financing, for every white house candidate, there’s usually one Super PAC or outside organization devoted to getting them elected. These groups can “fundraise” an unlimited amount of dollars and use them later to advertise against their rivals. The law dictates that these Super PACs cannot coordinate with a candidate’s official campaign committee, but as OpenSecrets.org points out, many of these Super PACs are run by friends, family and former staffers of that particular candidate.
The Republican hopefuls, including those who have now dropped out, have garnered well over $260 million in Super PAC money, or "dark money" as labeled by OpenSecrets.org. This is huge when compared to the Democratic hopefuls -- who’ve only taken in $17.1 million.
The 2016 hopeful who has raised the most money is Jeb Bush. Bush has taken in $103.2 million in dark money versus $24.8 million in limited donations. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has taken in $20 million in dark money, compared to a whopping $77 million in limited donations -- aka, donations equal to $2,700 or less.
In fact, there’s a clear divide between how the two parties get their campaigns financed. Even a candidate like Hillary Clinton – who many have been quick to tie to Wall Street -- is taking in $18 million less than Ted Cruz in dark money. Makes you wonder why many Republicans loved the Citizens United ruling so much when the Supreme Court first ruled on it.
Do these numbers shock you vigilant viewers?Or not at all?Sound off below!
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