How much does a Senate seat cost, changing loyalties, new campaign finance limits and more

Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $1.2 million: The amount that congressional Republicans collected toward the end of the midterms for a new fundraising committee called the Founders Joint Candidate Committee
  • 30: The number of families who contributed that amount
  • 2.5: The number of weeks it took to collect that cash
  • $31,170: The average amount collected from each donor

How much does a Senate seat cost? $18 million in Washington state

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) told a journalist that she expects her 2012 re-election campaign to cost $18 million. “Anybody can have several million dollars thrown at them at any given moment,” Cantwell said. “Everybody is looking at this cycle differently that the last one: At least I am.”

Remember Target? You ain’t seen nothing yet

Remember the brouhaha over Target’s political donations to a pro-business group that backed an anti-gay gubernatorial candidate? Target isn’t the only company getting in hot water for political donations. This year, more than 45 companies could face proxy initiatives related to political donations. Shareholders are increasingly inclined to support requirements that contributions be disclosed.

DNC breaks new ground, nixes corporate contributions

For the first time ever, the Democratic National Convention will not take money from corporations to stage its big event. Critics say that this means little because lobbyists and wealthy individuals can still send big checks, but good government types say the step is meaningful.

FEC boosts campaign donation limits

Those eager to funnel more money to candidates they like can now do so. The Federal Election Commission has boosted by $100 the maximum donors can give to any one candidate. The limit is now $2,500. In addition, individuals can give $30,800 to political parties, an increase of $400 from last year.

Shifting allegiances after elections is par for the course

It didn’t take long for supporters of former U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.) to switch sides and send money to her opponent, U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), who beat Kosmas in November’s election. “For corporate lobbyists, there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. They go to the power,” Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, told the Orlando Sentinel.

Editorial: PAC loophole highlights need for overhaul of presidential funding system

The Washington Post is calling for an overhaul of the way presidential campaigns are funded. One reason: Rather than establishing a federal political action committee to help pay for the cost of exploring the feasibility of running, some presidential hopefuls are using state organizations instead, claiming they are just engaging in general political activities, rather than exploring a candidacy. That may pass muster with the Federal Election Commission, but it doesn’t pass the laugh test, the Post says.

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