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. 

StateTotal 
Texas$20,405,72822%
New York
$13,302,55214%
District of Columbia
$12,535,98113%
California$12,257,28213%
Massachusetts$5,231,9776%
   
Other$29,190,79131%
   
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. 

 


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.

StateCandidateTotal
New YorkRomney$8,375,000
 Obama$166,900
 Santorum$35,000
 Gingrich$ - 
 Paul$ - 
New York Total $8,576,900
   
CaliforniaRomney$2,362,525
 Obama$2,353,000
 Paul$950,000
 Santorum$30,250
 Gingrich$1,750
California Total $5,697,525
   
FloridaRomney$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
   
TexasRomney$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

About MapLight: MapLight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that reveals money's influence on politics. If our work has been helpful to you, please consider supporting us.