You Need to See These 5 Shocking Facts About Money in the 2012 Elections

January 17, 2013 | | Mother Jones |

Not since the years before the Watergate scandal has a small cadre of mega-donors influenced our elections as much as wealthy givers such as casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Texas homebuilder Bob Perry, and Chicago media mogul Fred Eychaner did in 2012. These men and a few dozen others pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into super-PACs and shadowy nonprofits and raised tens of millions more for presidential and Congressional campaigns.

Now, a new report titled "Billion-Dollar Democracy" by the Demos think tank and the US Public Interest Research Group, both left-of-center groups, distills all the fundraising and spending on last year's elections and spits out an array of eye-popping factoids about where all the money came from (or most of it, at least) and how it was spent. It is vital information as reporters, activists, and others try to make sense of an election season full of firsts—the first full cycle since the 2010 Citizens United decision, the first $1 billion campaign (Obama), and the first presidential race in which both major candidates rejected public financing.