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Super PAC Cash Flows from a Handful of States

Feb. 21, 2012 - Following a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, any entity, be it an individual, union, or company, is now able to make unlimited contributions to so-called Super PACs (more formally known as Independent Expenditure-Only Committees) to specifically advocate for or against federal candidates as long as they do not explicitly coordinate with those candidates' campaigns. MapLight has conducted an analysis of the nearly $100 million in contributions made to Super PACs in 2011, broken down by state.

Based on data provided by California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting, MapLight has found that, between Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2011, over two-thirds of all reported Super PAC contributions have come from just four states and the District of Columbia.

State Total  
Texas $20,405,728 22%
New York $13,302,552 14%
District of Columbia $12,535,981 13%
California $12,257,282 13%
Massachusetts $5,231,977 6%
     
Other $29,190,791 31%
     
Grand Total $92,924,310  

In 2011, Super PACs supporting the top candidates in the major political parties (amongst Republicans: Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum; amongst Democrats: President Obama) raised $39,907,935.

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Tableau Public
ableau

A Tableau visualization shows a geographical representation of the origins of Super PAC contributions. Use the link icon for code you can use to embed the visual in any website. Copy and paste the embed code just as you would a YouTube video.

Below is chart highlighting the top five states in combined contributions to five of the remaining candidates.

State Candidate Total
New York Romney $8,375,000
  Obama $166,900
  Santorum $35,000
  Gingrich $ -
  Paul $ -
New York Total   $8,576,900
     
California Romney $2,362,525
  Obama $2,353,000
  Paul $950,000
  Santorum $30,250
  Gingrich $1,750
California Total   $5,697,525
     
Florida Romney $3,947,860
  Gingrich $50,000
  Obama $36,850
  Santorum $25,000
  Paul $ -
Florida Total   $4,059,710
     
Massachusetts Romney $3,952,518
  Obama $25,250
  Gingrich $ -
  Santorum $ -
  Paul $ -
Massachusetts Total   $3,977,768
     
Texas Romney $2,081,625
  Gingrich $601,000
  Paul $230,000
  Santorum $5,000
  Obama $2,725
Texas Total   $2,920,350
  • Download a spreadsheet of the MapLight analysis here.

According to the FEC website, independent expenditures represent spending by individuals, groups, political committees, corporations, or unions expressly advocating for the election or defeat of clearly identified federal candidates. These expenditures may not be made in concert or cooperation with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, the candidate's campaign, or a political party.

METHODOLOGY: Campaign contributions to Independent Expenditure-Only Committees from Jan. 1, 2011-Dec. 31, 2011. Contribution data provided by California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Super PAC names and candidate positions provided by OpenSecrets.org.

Updated to include Super PAC contributions supporting Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Media Contact: Pamela Heisey, pamela@maplight.org, 415-299-0898

© Copyright MapLight

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MapLight is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, research organization that reveals money's influence on politics.

Elected officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws. This common practice is contrary to the public interest, yet legal.

MapLight connects data on campaign contributions, politicians, votes, industries, companies, and more to show patterns of influence that could never be seen before. 

We currently research money and influence in the...

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