Consider the Source: Your personal election guide

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With less than two months to go before the Nov. 6th election, nearly $3 billion has been raised by all the presidential and congressional candidates, along with the parties and super PACs, a staggering figure.

Here is a rough tally at this moment in time, with help from OpenSecrets.org:

  • All super PACs have raised about $350 million so far this cycle, with conservative groups bringing in the major share.
  • All House candidates have raised about $784 million.
  • All Senate candidates have raised about $445 million.
  • And all presidential candidates have raised about $700 million. This figure includes $350 million by President Barack Obama and $194 million by Mitt Romney.
  • In addition, the Democratic National Committee has raised $242 million and the Republican National Committee has raised $265 million. All these fundraising numbers are here on OpenSecrets.org.

And, each of these numbers will grow substantially in the next 54 days. The financial arms race at the presidential level is likely to be something of a draw by the time the final figures are counted, but the Republicans to date are at a distinct advantage with well-funded outside spending groups, which have blanketed the airwaves with mostly negative ads.

The 2012 presidential election will end up being the most expensive and least transparent presidential campaign of the modern era. Our year-long ‘Consider the Source’ project seeks to ‘out’ shadowy political organizations that have flourished in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. Turn to us through Election Day and beyond for the narrative behind the massive flow of money at federal and state levels. 

Bookmark these tools and resources:

The Daily Disclosure: From Federal Election Commission reports to YouTube postings and press releases, the Daily Disclosure provides an insider-look into super PACs’ and nonprofits’ reported campaign spending. Each day, we comb through the data to identify ads paid for by free-spending special interest groups.

Super PAC profiles: We’ve profiled 22 super PACs so far this election cycle. Each identifies the principals behind the PAC with brief bios, ideologies, money raised so far, and how it is being spent – mostly on attack ads as it turns out. 

Nonprofit donor profiles: Nonprofits can spend the same as super PACs but are not required to reveal their donors.  Our investigations have revealed details on 10 of these groups so far, including principals, ideology and finances wherever possible. 

Super donor profiles: Learn about the top 10 donors to super PACs and what they hope to get in return. Be sure to check out the trading-card versions of these all-stars here.

Citizens United – the back story: Need a primer on how we got here? In 2010, the courts reversed decades of legal precedent when they said it was OK for corporations and unions to spend as much as they want to put their favorite candidates in office. Our citizen’s guide explains what the courts ruled and why it matters.