FEC Summarizes 2011 Campaign Activity
Presidential and congressional candidates running in the current election cycle, political parties and political action committees (PACs) collected more than $1.9 billion and disbursed more than $1.3 billion in 2011, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission from January 1 through December 31, 2011. Independent expenditure and electioneering communication filings submitted to the Commission in 2011 totaled $22 million.
*The party committee totals have been updated to include state, local and third parties.
This release summarizes campaign activity in 2011, the first year of the 2011-2012 election cycle. Supporting data tables are linked at the end of each summary section below. Future data summary press releases will be published after each quarterly filing deadline in 2012.
I. Presidential Candidates
Presidential candidates reported raising $280.9 million and spending $179.4 million from January 1 through December 31, 2011. The total amount of debt owed by 2012 presidential candidate committees was $10.4 million as of December 31, 2011. These candidates’ combined cash-on-hand was $111.5 million.
The following table summarizes campaign finance activity of presidential candidates during pre-election years since 1999.
*Only presidential candidates who have raised or spent more than $100,000 are included in this table.
The receipt totals above include matching funds received for primary election contributions. To become eligible for matching funds, candidates must raise a threshold amount of $100,000 by collecting $5,000 in each of 20 states in amounts no greater than $250 from any individual. Other requirements to be declared eligible by the Commission for matching funds include agreeing to an overall spending limit, abiding by spending limits in each state, using public funds only for legitimate campaign-related expenses, keeping financial records and permitting an extensive campaign audit.
This cycle, the maximum amount aprimary election candidate could receive is $22,810,350. The presidential nominee of each major party may become eligible to receive a public grant of $91,241,400 for the general election campaign. Additional information about the public financing of presidential elections can be found here.
Data summary tables for reports submitted to the Commission through December 31, 2011 by 2012 presidential candidate committees can be found here. Historical campaign finance activity for presidential candidates can be found here.
II. Congressional Candidates
The 1,218 candidates running in the 2012 election cycle for the United States House of Representatives and Senate reported raising a total of $637.1 million and spending $299.7 million between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. House and Senate candidates reported combined total debts of $71.8 million in 2011 and a combined cash-on-hand total of $516.4 million as of December 31, 2011.
The following table summarizes odd-year campaign finance activity of House and Senate candidates since 2001.
The 177 candidates running in the 33 2012 Senate races reported total receipts of $232.5 million, disbursements of $87.1 million, debts of $28.9 million and cash-on-hand totaling close to $187 million.
Campaign committees of the 1,041 House candidates reported total receipts of $404.6 million, disbursements of $212.7 million, debts of $42.9 million and a combined cash total of $329.4 million in 2011.
Data summary tables for reports submitted to the Commission through December 31, 2011 by 2012 congressional candidate committees can be found here.
III. Political Party Committees
National, state and local political party committees reported $471.2 million in federal funds receipts, $384 million in disbursements, debts of $24.1 million, and a combined cash-on-hand of $101.9 million as of the end of 2011. Other party committees* reported receipts of $1.7 million, disbursements of $1.6 million, debts of almost $50,000, and a combined cash-on-hand of over $323,000 as of the end of 2011.
The following table summarizes 2011 campaign finance activity of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (NRSC) and National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), as well as each party’s state and local committees and other party committees.
**The totals for receipts and disbursements have been adjusted to account for transfers between party committees.
Individuals, for whom contributions to national parties are limited to $30,800 this election cycle, are the largest source of federal funds for party committees. Democratic party committees reported receiving $161 million from individuals, while Republican party committees received $174 million from individuals. PACs and other political committees contributed $17 million to Democratic party committees and $26.4 million to Republican party committees in 2011.
Democratic and Republican House campaign committees transferred more than $9.6 million and more than $8.7 million, respectively, from their campaign accounts to their national congressional party committees in 2011. Democratic and Republican U.S. Senate campaign committees transferred $974,500 and $30,800, respectively, from their campaign accounts to their national senatorial party committees in 2011.
Data summary tables for reports submitted to the Commission through December 31, 2011 by political party committees can be found here.
IV. Political Action Committees (PACs)
Based on reports filed with the Commission in 2011, 5,152 federal PACs reported total receipts of more than $601.1 million, disbursements of $499.4 million, debts of $6.1 million, and a combined cash-on-hand of $441.7 million.
The following table summarizes campaign finance activity of PACs based on PAC type in 2011. This table includes both nonconnected committees and separate segregated funds (SSFs), which have connected organizations such as corporations or labor organizations that establish, administer or raise money on their behalf.
*Nonconnected committees include Leadership PACs and Independent Expenditure-Only Committees. 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.
Contributions by PACs to federal candidates seeking office in 2011 and 2012 totaled $170.8 million as of December 31, 2011. PAC contributions to Senate, House and presidential candidates totaled $33.6 million, $136.4 million and more than $822,000, respectively. Independent Expenditure-Only Committees are prohibited from making contributions to candidates.
Data summary tables for reports submitted to the Commission through December 31, 2011 by PACs can be found here.
V. Independent Expenditures
In 2011, all independent expenditure filings* reported to the Commission totaled approximately $21.5 million. Independent Expenditure-Only Committees accounted for $16 million of all independent expenditure filings received by the Commission, while other PACs reported $2.1 million. Independent expenditures made by party committees and persons other than political committees totaled $2.6 million and $776,000, respectively.
Independent expenditures reported to the Commission in connection with the 2012 presidential election totaled approximately $14.5 million as of December 31, 2011, with approximately $12.7 million reported by Independent Expenditure-Only Committees and $1.2 million reported by other PACs. Party committees and persons other than political committees reported making nearly $17,000 and $561,000, respectively, in independent expenditures in connection with the presidential election. Independent expenditures advocating the election of presidential candidates totaled more than $8.6 million, while almost $5.9 million was reported to advocate the defeat of presidential candidates.
Independent expenditures reported in connection with congressional races totaled nearly $7 million. Independent Expenditure-Only Committees and party committees, representing the two largest sources of these expenditures, reported $3.3 million and $2.6 million, respectively. Independent expenditures made by PACs other than Independent Expenditure-Only Committees totaled approximately $914,000. Persons other than political committees reported making $215,000 in independent expenditures in connection with congressional elections.
Independent Expenditure-Only Committees reported total receipts of $99.1 million, disbursements of $39.2 million, less than $1 million in debt, and a combined cash-on-hand of $63.7 million.
Data summary tables for independent expenditure filings submitted to the Commission through December 31, 2011 can be found here.
*Independent expenditures are subject to 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.
VI. Electioneering Communications
Electioneering communication filings totaling $505,845* were reported to the Commission in connection with activity in 2011. An electioneering communication is a broadcast, cable or satellite communication that refers to a clearly identified federal candidate and is distributed 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.
*These totals do not include electioneering communications that were amended or newly filed in the referenced year and that disclosed disbursements from different years. Only electioneering communication disbursements made in the referenced year, for communications in that year, are included in these totals.
The data summary table for electioneering communication filings submitted to the Commission through December 31, 2011 can be found here.
(Posted 5/3/12; By Myles Martin)
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