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FEC Summarizes 15-Month Campaign Activity
for the 2012 Election Cycle

Total Activity Summary 2012


Federal candidates, parties and political action committees (PACs) collected more than $2.9 billion and spent more than $2 billion, between January 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012.

« Click on the image to enlarge. The larger image will open in a new window.

Presidential Candidates

Presidential candidates reported raising $418.9 million and spending $312.6 million from January 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012. The total amount of debt owed by 2012 presidential candidate committees was $13.8 million as of March 31, 2012. These candidates’ combined cash-on-hand was $120.3 million.

The graphic at right summarizes campaign finance activity of presidential candidates through the first quarter of election years since 2000. The receipt totals above include matching funds received for primary election contributions. It includes activity from January 1 of the pre-presidential election year through March 31 of the presidential election year for candidates who have raised or spent more than $100,000.

Presidential Candidate Summary 2012
Click on the image to enlarge.

Congressional Candidates

The 1,614 candidates running for House and Senate seats in the 2012 election cycle reported raising a total of $884.6 million and spending $453.5 million between January 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012.

Congressional Activity Summary
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House and Senate candidates reported combined total debts of $97.7 million and a combined cash-on-hand of $610.6 million as of March 31, 2012.  The graphic at left summarizes election-year campaign finance activity of House and Senate candidates since 2002.

The 222 candidates running in the 33 2012 Senate races reported total receipts of $318.3 million, disbursements of $135.3 million, debts of $37.3 million and cash-on-hand totaling $224.9 million.

Campaign committees of the 1,392 House candidates reported total receipts of $566.4 million, disbursements of $318.3 million, debts of $60.4 million and a combined cash-on-hand of $385.7 million.

Political Party Committees

National, state and local political party committees reported $658.9 million in federal receipts, $495.4 million in disbursements, debts of $19.2 million, and a combined cash-on-hand of $174.4 million for the cycle as of March 31, 2012. Of those totals, other party committees—committees include leadership PACs, Independent expenditure-only committees and committees with non-contribution accounts—reported receipts of $2.9 million, disbursements of $2.7 million, debts of approximately $342,000, and a combined cash-on-hand of approximately $439,000 during the same 15-month period.

Political Action Committees (PACs)

Based on reports filed with the Commission through March 31, 2012, 5,667 federal PACs reported total receipts of $986.4 million, disbursements of $785.7 million, debts of $9.6 million, and a combined cash-on-hand of $436.8 million.

The following table summarizes campaign finance activity of PACs based on PAC type from January 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012 including nonconnected committees and separate segregated funds (SSFs).


PAC Activity from Jan. 1, 2011 through Mar. 31, 2012

(figures in millions)

PAC Type

PACs

Receipts

Disbursements

Debts Owed

Cash on Hand

Corporate

1,786

$216.80

$191.80

$0.20

$156.00

Labor

297

$168.40

$120.90

$0.60

$43.00

Nonconnected*

2,442

$421.40

$331.50

$8.20

$138.90

Trade

713

$87.80

$72.70

$0.00

$59.10

Membership

276

$75.80

$55.10

$0.10

$29.30

Cooperative

43

$6.00

$4.60

$0.00

$4.10

Corporations without Stock

110

10.3

$9.10

$0.40

$6.50

Total**

5,556

$986.40

$785.70

$9.60

$436.80

* Nonconnected committees include leadership PACs, Independent expenditure-only committees and committees with non-contribution accounts. Independent expenditure-only committees are committees that may receive unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, and labor unions for the purpose of financing independent expenditures and other independent political activity.

**The totals in this line may not equal the sum of the numbers in the corresponding columns as these numbers have been rounded.


Contributions by PACs to federal candidates seeking office in 2011 and 2012 totaled $222.2 million as of March 31, 2012. PAC contributions to Senate, House and presidential candidates totaled $42.9 million, $178.2 million and $1.1 million, respectively. Independent expenditure-only committees are prohibited from making contributions to candidates.

Independent Expenditures

From January 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012, all independent expenditure filings reported to the Commission totaled $97.2 million. Independent expenditure-only committees—commonly referred to as Super PACs by the media—accounted for $78.4 million of all independent expenditure filings received by the Commission, while committees with non-contribution accounts accounted for $7.6 million. Independent expenditures made by other PACs, persons other than political committees and party committees totaled $3.9 million, $3.8 million and $3.5 million, respectively.

Independent expenditures reported to the Commission in connection with the 2012 presidential election totaled approximately $83.7 million as of March 31, 2012, with approximately $71.2 million reported by independent expenditure-only committees, $7.6 million reported by committees with non-contribution accounts and $1.8 million reported by other PACs.

Independent expenditures advocating the election of presidential candidates totaled $35 million, while $48.7 million was reported to advocate the defeat of presidential candidates. Independent expenditures reported in connection with congressional races totaled $13.6 million. Independent expenditure-only committees and party committees were the two largest sources of these expenditures, reporting $7.3 million and $3.4 million, respectively. 

Independent expenditure-only committees reported total receipts of $193.7 million, disbursements of $118 million, $3.7 million in debt, and a combined cash-on-hand of $79.4 million.


Activity from Jan. 1, 2011 through Mar. 31, 2012

(figures in millions)

Communications Filings

Total

Independent Expenditures*

$97.20

Electioneering Communications**

$4.3

Total

$101.50

*Independent expenditures are subject to special disclosure requirements once they reach or exceed $10,000 with respect to a given election at any time up to and including the 20th day before an election, and once they reach or exceed $1,000 with respect to a given election, and are made fewer than 20 days, but more than 24 hours, before an election. The totals listed include only the amounts that were reported to the Commission.

**These totals do not include electioneering communications that were amended or newly filed in 2011 and 2012 and that disclosed disbursements from different years.


Electioneering Communications

Electioneering communication filings totaling $4.3 million were reported to the Commission as of March 31, 2012. An electioneering communication is a broadcast, cable or satellite communication that refers to a clearly identified federal candidate and is distributed within 30 days prior to a primary election or 60 days prior to a general election. These communications do not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a federal candidate.

Data summary tables for reports submitted to the Commission through March 31, 2012 are listed below for:

  • Presidential candidate committees link;
  • Historical presidential candidates link;
  • Congressional candidate committees link;
  • PACs link;
  • PAC summary data link;
  • Independent expenditures link;
  • Political party committees link; and
  • Electioneering communications link.

(Posted 7/12/12; By Alex Knott)

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The FEC Record is produced by the Information Division, Office of Communications. Toll free 800-424-9530; Local 202-694-1100; E-mail info@fec.gov. Greg Scott, Director; Alex Knott, Senior Writer/Editor; Myles Martin, Editor