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Campaign Spending Topped $1B Last Year

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iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Presidential and congressional campaign spending, coupled with spending by political action committees and parties, totaled $1.3 billion in 2011, according to a report released by the Federal Election Commission.

Campaigns, PACs and parties raised even more than they spent; the FEC reports that $1.9 billion was raised last year.

The largest sum raised and spent came from outside groups. PACs accounted for $601 million of the total $1.9 billion raised, and $499 million of the total $1.3 billion spent.

For comparison, independent expenditure–only committees — more commonly referred to as super PACs, which have been so dominant in the political discourse this cycle — only account for a small portion of total raised and spent. The FEC report shows that these groups raised $99 million and spent $32 million. This number is likely to grow in next year’s report, however, as a great deal of super PAC activity didn’t kick into gear until after the primary season officially began in January 2012.

Spending will undoubtedly increase greatly in 2012, the actual election year, but the sheer size of off-year spending and fundraising totals reminds voters just how much money goes into running for elected office.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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