Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The cost of democracy

By Richard K. Barry

An organization called MapLight has published the average amount it cost in the 2012 campaign to run for the House or Senate:

  • House members, on average, each raised $1,689,580, an average of $2,315 every day during the 2012 cycle.
  • Senators, on average, each raised $10,476,451, an average of $14,351 every day during the 2012 cycle.

According to The Week, Maine Sen. Angus King got away the cheapest, raising about $3 million in campaign contributions:

Progressive icon and Wall Street critic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) raised $42.5 million, by far the highest total of any 2012 winner, in her bid to unseat Republican Scott Brown. That sum was more than twice the amount raised by all but two other victorious candidates in Senate or House races, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), who raised about $26 and $22 million, respectively.

Not surprisingly, fundraising has really taken off since 2010, the year the Supreme Court decided it was a good idea to roll back campaign finance restrictions in the Citizens United case. And, as The Week suggests, an improving economy certainly helped candidates raise money in 2012. 

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, those who pony up the big bucks usually expect their interests to be promoted. Not a great thing for democracy. 

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