The Federal Election Commission has tallied up the financial results for political action committees for the 2008 election cycle, and to the surprise of nobody, a new record was set. However, the FEC notes that PACs were tapping the brakes when it comes to the rate of growth.
The total that went into PAC coffers was $1.2B, amounting to an 10.5% increase over the 2006 cycle and a 18% increase over 2004.
Of the $1.2B, $412.8M went to candidate for federal office. Not all of that cash went to candidates actually running (only about one third of the Senate is in contention any given election). Of the $385.9M that was poured into active campaigns, $79.9M went to Senate races and $301.6M to the House. Incumbents were prime beneficiaries, getting $304.7M compared to only $48.8M for challenges. $32.4M was invested in open seat candidates.
Republican Senate candidates outdrew their Democratic counterparts $54.1M to $46.0M, but House Democrats more than turned the tables, getting $185.7M to the Republican’s $122.5M.
The PACs invested another $135.2M in independent ads on behalf or against a particular candidate. On the pro side, they invested $61.0M in the Pesidential race, $9.0M in the Senate and $14.9M in the House. On the anti side, they invested $37.8M, $5.3M in the Senate and $6.7M in the House.