The Scale of the Problem: How much is being spent to buy our democracy?
With the 2012 elections now over, our team is working to compile new Fast Facts for you. If you can't wait, please visit Opensecrets.
The record-breaking amount outside groups spent influencing the 2010 elections, mostly on advertising.
The number of registered lobbyists in DC in 2009, not including an estimated 90,000 people not registered but part of DC’s influence industry.
The amount lobbyists spent in 2009 per elected representative in Congress.
The percentage of Americans who gave two-thirds of all campaign contributions in the 2010 election.
The percent increase in spending by all candidates for Congress on elections from 1982 ($343 million) to 2010 ($1.8 billion).
The percentage of retiring members who become lobbyists today. In the '70s, that number was 3 percent.
30% to 70%
The amount of time members of Congress spend fundraising.
2 to 1
The amount super PACs outspent the official 2012 Republican primary campaigns in South Carolina.
Who Cares? Americans do! More and more believe that we need to get money out.
Amount of Americans who think it’s important for candidates to address the issue of campaign finance reform in 2012.
Amount of Americans who say reducing the influence of lobbyists and money in politics will be an important factor in their vote.
Amount of Americans — including 77 percent of Republican voters — who think Wall Street has too much influence over politics.
A recent congressional job approval rating — a record low.
Amount of Americans who think the U.S. needs new campaign finance laws.
Taxes: Too much money in politics buys bad tax policies
The amount spent in the 2010 elections by the five biggest recipients of corporate tax breaks.
The number of Fortune 500 corporations that spent more on lobbying than they did in taxes between 2008 and 2010.
Financial Institutions / Reform: Too much money in politics prevents fixing the causes of the 2008 crisis
The number of registered lobbyists in DC in October 2009 representing financial institutions — 25 times the number registered to support consumer groups, unions and other reform groups.
Amount spent on lobbying by the financial industry during 2009 and the first quarter of 2010 to weaken the Dodd-Frank reform bill.
Number of businesses and trade groups fighting Dodd-Frank in Washington.
Number of lobbyists per member of Congress who lobbied against Dodd-Frank.
Amount spent by the financial sector on lobbying from 1999 to 2008; individuals and related PACs donated more than $1 billion in campaign contributions.
The number of former members of Congress lobbying on behalf of the financial sector in 2009.
Health Care: Too much money in politics makes you sick
The amount spent per day by the health care industry lobbying on the 2010 health care reform bill.
The number of registered lobbyists employed by the pharmaceutical lobby alone — the Center for Public Integrity called the lobby “the biggest in the nation.”
Percent of drug trials that are funded by the pharmaceutical industry.
Total subsidy paid by American taxpayers to the 18 biggest banks in America each year, thanks to cheaper borrowing rates.
Environment: Too much money in politics keeps our world dirty
Opponents of Obama’s proposed climate bill outspent environmentalists 8:1 on lobbying.
Amount spent by lobbyists to kill Obama’s climate bill.
Amount of tax breaks American taxpayers give to Big Oil companies each year. Meanwhile, the typical American household will have spent $4,155 filling up this year, which is a record high.
Amount donated by oil and gas industry PACs to federal candidates from January 2009 to June 2010.
Government Waste: Too much money in politics gives us a big, bloated government
Increased revenue to drug companies, thanks to a deal struck by Obama with Big Pharma during healthcare reform legislation.
For firms spending about $800,000 on lobbying a year, an increase of 1 percent in lobbying expenditures produced a tax benefit of anywhere from $4.8 million to $16 million — that’s a 600 percent to 2,000 percent return on investment.
Amount the federal government could save each year by ending tax subsidies to oil, gas and fossil fuel producers.
Jobs: Too much money in politics keeps unemployment up
Amount actually spent on jobs after a 2004 law gave companies a $63 billion tax break for job creation.