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For Immediate Release Contact:  Judith Ingram
January 30, 2013 Julia Queen
  Christian Hilland

PDF .pdf version of this news release

*Revised on April 8, 2014

FEC Summarizes 21-Month Campaign Activity of the 2012 Election Cycle

WASHINGTON – Presidential and congressional candidates running in the 2012 election cycle, political parties and political action committees (PACs) received more than $5.6 billion and disbursed more than $4.8 billion, according to third-quarter campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission that cover activity from January 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012. Filings submitted to the Commission in this 21-month period indicated that disbursements for independent expenditures and electioneering communications totaled $541 million.

Activity from Jan. 1, 2011 through Sep. 30, 2012
(figures in millions)

Filers Receipts
Disbursements
2012 Presidential Candidates
$1,046.5
 
$923.5
 
2012 Congressional Candidates
$1,605.7
 
$1,304.9
 
Party Committees
$1,275.6
 
$1,015.9
 
PACs
$1,744.5
 
$1,563.3
 
Total
$5,672.3
 
$4,807.6
 
 
 
Communications Filings
Total
 
 
Independent Expenditures
$536.1
   
Electioneering Communications
$4.9
   
Total
$541.0
   

This release summarizes campaign activity through the first 21 months of the 2011-2012 election cycle. Supporting data tables are linked at the end of each summary section below. The final cumulative data summary press release for the 2012 cycle will be published at a later date, after the Year End filing deadline.

*To maintain consistency with how they had been calculated in prior years, the totals for Party Committees above and the sums for the State and Local Democratic Party Committees (federal funds), State and Local Republican Party Committees (federal funds), Total Other Party and Total lines in the Political Party Committees table were revised on April 8, 2014 to include transfers between party committees and transfers between party committees’ federal and nonfederal accounts that had been inadvertently excluded from the original calculations, and to exclude sums representing the Levin share of Federal Election Activity that had been inadvertently included in the original calculations.

I. Presidential Candidates

Presidential candidates reported raising more than $1 billion and spending $923.5 million from January 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012.

The total amount of debt owed by 2012 presidential candidate committees was $21.1 million as of September 30, 2012. These candidates’ combined cash-on-hand was $164.8 million.

The following table summarizes campaign finance activity of presidential candidates through the second quarter of election years since 2000.

21-Month Financial Activity of Presidential Candidates*
(figures in millions)

Year Candidates Receipts Disbursements Debts Owed Cash on Hand
2012 14 $1,046.5   $923.5   $21.1   $164.8
2008 20 $1,403.7   $1,337.2   $27.5   $173.1
2004 12 $833.3   $708.3   $5.7   $170.4
2000 17 $503.0   $449.6   $6.3   $107.6

*Includes activity from January 1 of the pre-presidential election year through September 30 of the presidential election year. Only presidential candidates who have raised more than $100,000in contributions from individuals other than the candidate, or spent $100,000, are included in this table. Contribution limits are indexed for inflation every cycle.

The receipt totals above include matching funds received for primary election contributions. To become eligible for matching funds, a candidate 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 include agreeing to an overall spending limit, abiding by spending limits in each state, using public funds only for qualified campaign-related expenses, keeping financial records and permitting an extensive campaign audit.

In the 2012 cycle, the maximum amount aprimary election candidate could receive was $22,810,350. As of September 30, 2012, the Commission certified payments for primary matching funds to three presidential campaigns: $260,389.13 to one, $351,961.10 to a second and $303,751.20 to a third, for a total of $916,101.43. 

As of the close of this 21-month period, no candidates had received general election grant money. Additional information about the public financing of presidential elections can be found here.

Data summary tables for reports submitted to the Commission through September 30, 2012 by 2012 presidential candidate committees can be found here. Historical campaign finance activity for presidential candidates can be found here.

II. Congressional Candidates

The 1,922 candidates running in the 2012 election cycle for the United States House of Representatives and Senate reported raising a total of more than $1.6 billion and spending over $1.3 billion between January 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012. House and Senate candidates reported combined total debts of $138.2 million and combined total cash-on-hand of $482.4 million as of September 30, 2012.

The following table summarizes election-year campaign finance activity of House and Senate candidates since 2002.

21-Month Financial Activity of Congressional Candidates*
(figures in millions)

Year Candidates Receipts Disbursements Debts Owed Cash on Hand
2012 1,922 $1,605.7   $1,304.9   $138.2   $482.4
2010 2,165 $1,584.6   $1,280.4   $141.7   $506.2
2008 1,528 $1,206.6   $937.6   $94.1   $448.4
2006 1,450 $1,184.9   $927.2   $78.1   $452.2
2004 1,376 $1,026.5   $817.1   $88.2   $381.0
2002 1,352 $796.5   $629.8   $102.1   $292.0

*Includes activity from January 1 of the pre-election year through September 30 of the election year. Contribution limits are indexed for inflation every cycle. The totals in the 2012 row may differ slightly from the sum of the numbers in the two subsequent paragraphs as the numbers have been rounded.

The 250 candidates running in the 33 Senate races in 2012 reported total receipts of more than $620 million, disbursements of $520.5 million, debts of $55.2 million and cash-on-hand of $144.5 million.

The 1,672 candidates running in 435 House races reported combined total receipts of $985.6 million, disbursements of $784.4 million, debts of $83 million and cash-on-hand of $337.9 million.

Data summary tables for reports submitted to the Commission through September 30, 2012 by 2012 congressional candidate committees can be found here.

III. Political Party Committees

National, state and local political party committees reported combined total receipts of nearly $1.3 billion in federal funds, disbursements of more than $1 billion, debts of $35.8 million, and cash-on-hand of $263.1 million for the 2012 election cycle as of September 30, 2012. Of those totals, other party committees* reported receipts of $5.1 million, disbursements of $5.1 million, debts of $254,793, and combined cash-on-hand of $588,211 during the same 21-month period.

The following table summarizes 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 Committee (NRSC) and National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), as well as each party’s state and local committees and other party committees.

Political Party Activity from Jan. 1, 2011 through Sep. 30, 2012***
(figures in millions)

Party Committees Receipts
Disbursements
Debts Owed
Cash on Hand
DNC $253.6 $255.1   $20.5   $4.6
DSCC $106.9 $80.7   $0.0   $27.0
DCCC $142.4 $116.8   $0.0   $26.4
State and Local Democratic
 Party Committees (federal funds)
$202.9 $168.6   $1.9   $26.1
Total** $610.4 $525.8   $22.5   $84.1
   
RNC $331.2 $249.4   $9.9   $82.6
NRSC $93.9 $70.9   $0.0   $23.1
NRCC $128.3 $101.3   $0.0   $29.5
State and Local Republican
 Party Committees (federal funds)
$160.3 $117.1   $3.1   $43.1
Total** $660.1 $485.1   $13.0   $178.3
   
Total Other Party* $5.1 $5.1   $0.3   $0.6
   
Total Party Contributions** $1,275.6 $1,015.9   $35.8   $263.1


*Other party committees include the Libertarian National Committee, Libertarian National Congressional Committee, Green Party of the United States, Green Senatorial Campaign Committee, Constitution Party National Committee, and the Reform Party of the United States of America.

**The receipt and disbursement totals in this line may not equal the sum of the numbers in the corresponding columns as the numbers have been adjusted to account for transfers between party committees.

***To maintain consistency with how they had been calculated in prior years, the sums for the State and Local Democratic Party Committees (federal funds), State and Local Republican Party Committees (federal funds), Total Other Party and Total lines were revised on April 8, 2014 to include transfers between party committees and transfers between party committees’ federal and nonfederal accounts that had been inadvertently excluded from the original calculations, and to exclude sums representing the Levin share of Federal Election Activity that had been inadvertently included in the original calculations.

Individuals, for whom contributions to national parties were limited to $30,800 in the 2012 election cycle, were the largest source of federal funds for party committees. Democratic party committees reported receiving $357.8 million from individuals, while Republican party committees received $376.1 million from individuals. PACs and other political committees contributed $41.9 million to Democratic party committees and $72.8 million to Republican party committees as of September 30, 2012.

Democratic and Republican House campaign committees transferred more than $21.3 million and more than $38.7 million, respectively, from their campaign accounts to their national congressional party committees. Democratic and Republican U.S. Senate campaign committees transferred $8.3 million and nearly $1.1 million, respectively, from their campaign accounts to their national senatorial party committees.

Data summary tables for reports submitted to the Commission through September 30, 2012 by political party committees can be found here.

IV. Political Action Committees (PACs)

Based on reports filed with the Commission through September 30, 2012, 6,464 federal PACs reported total receipts of more than $1.7 billion, disbursements of nearly $1.6 billion, debts of $21.1 million, and a combined cash-on-hand of $529.1 million.

The following table summarizes campaign finance activity of PACs based on PAC type from January 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012. 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.

PAC Activity from Jan. 1, 2011 through Sep. 30, 2012
(figures in millions)

PAC Type
PACs
Receipts
Disbursements
Debts Owed
Cash on Hand
Corporate
1,843
  $315.7   $306.7   $0.3   $122.1
Labor
301
  $242.5   $213.6   $4.5   $111.6
Nonconnected*
3,169
  $924.0   $801.9   $15.7   $192.3
Trade
719
  $121.8   $117.6   $0.1   $52.3
Membership
272
  $118.2   $102.4   $0.1   $43.2
Cooperative
43
  $7.2   $6.9   $0.0   $3.6
Corporations without Stock
117
  $15.1   $14.2   $0.4   $3.9
Total**
6,464
  $1,744.5   $1,563.3   $21.1   $529.1

* 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. Committees with Non-Contribution Accounts solicit and accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, labor organizations, and other political committees to a segregated bank account for the purpose of financing independent expenditures, other ads that refer to a federal candidate, and generic voter drives in federal elections, while maintaining a separate bank account, subject to all of the statutory amount limitations and source prohibitions, that is permitted to make contributions to federal candidates.

**The totals in this line may not equal the sum of the numbers in the corresponding columns as these numbers have been rounded. Instead, the bottom-line totals correspond to PAC Table 1.

Contributions by PACs to federal candidates seeking office in 2011 and 2012 totaled $378.5 million as of September 30, 2012. PAC contributions to Senate, House and presidential candidates totaled $71.4 million, $305.5 million and $1.7 million, respectively. Independent Expenditure-Only Committees are prohibited from making contributions to candidates.

Data summary tables for reports submitted to the Commission through September 30, 2012 by PACs can be found here.

V. Independent Expenditures

From January 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012, all independent expenditure filings* reported to the Commission totaled $536.1 million. Independent Expenditure-Only Committees accounted for $280 million of all independent expenditure filings received by the Commission, while Committees with Non-Contribution Accounts accounted for $9.2 million. Independent expenditures made by persons other than political committees totaled $121.5 million. Independent expenditures by party committees and other PACs totaled $93.2 million and $32.2 million, respectively.

Independent expenditures reported to the Commission in connection with the 2012 presidential election totaled approximately $299.2 million as of September 30, 2012, with approximately $190.8 million reported by Independent Expenditure-Only Committees, $7.8 million reported by Committees with Non-Contribution Accounts and $11.1 million reported by other PACs. Persons other than political committees and party committees reported making $61.5 million and more than $28.1 million, respectively, in independent expenditures in connection with the presidential election. Independent expenditures advocating the election of presidential candidates totaled $55.8 million, while $243.5 million was reported to advocate the defeat of presidential candidates.

Independent expenditures reported in connection with congressional races totaled $236.9 million. Independent Expenditure-Only Committees, the largest source of these expenditures, reported $89.3 million. Independent expenditures made by PACs (other than Independent Expenditure-Only Committees and Committees with Non-Contribution Accounts) and party committees totaled approximately $21.1 million and $65.1 million, respectively. Persons other than political committees reported making nearly $60 million in independent expenditures in connection with congressional elections, while Committees with Non-Contribution Accounts reported more than $1.4 million.

Independent Expenditure-Only Committees reported total receipts of $530.9 million, disbursements of $422.3 million, $8.5 million in debt, and a combined cash-on-hand of $114.8 million. Committees with Non-Contribution Accounts reported raising $127.1 million, spending $122.1 million, debts of more than $151,000, and combined cash-on-hand of $10.6 million through September 30, 2012. This data is summarized in detail in the PAC data summary tables found here.

Data summary tables for independent expenditure filings submitted to the Commission through September 30, 2012 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 $4.9 million* were reported to the Commission as of September 30, 2012. 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 filed (or amended) in 2011 and 2012 but disclosed disbursements from different years.

The data summary table for electioneering communication filings submitted to the Commission through September 30, 2012 can be found here.

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