Candidates’ spending on media and the Election-Industrial Complex

2016 election funds

Where does all the money in politics go, you ask???

Thanks to OnTheMedia by way of BestOfTheLeft, we now know that, like the Military-Industrial Complex, there’s an Election-Industrial Complex.

They don’t give a shit who wins so long as they make millions as zero-value-add middlemen and -women who give candidates terrible advice and then take a cut of the media buys.

So, who is spending what?

Open Secrets is the most reputable source I know for tracking money in politics, including who is financing the candidates and where they are directing expenditures.

What I discovered is that no one has spent more than Bernie on media.



(Sadly, I feel like I have to continuously issue this sort of caveat to try to placate – more like, hold at bay – my fellow Sanders supporters who are part of the Bernie-or-Bust crowd.)

Bernie has spent the most on media.

That is a statement of fact based on data reported by Open Secrets. If for some reason that statement upsets you, you just don’t like it for some reason, or if it doesn’t seem to fit your narrative about Bernie, then here’s my advice.

If you think the facts are incorrect….

….then you’re invited to show verifiable facts that dispute Open Secrets from sources that are at least equally reputable.

If you want to accuse a candidate of falsifying data to the Federal Elections Commission…

….then I think you’ve just set a bar you need to overcome that just went through the effing roof.

Now that we have all of that out of the way, here are the facts as presented by Open Secrets as of today.

  • Bernie has spent $41.8M – over one-half of all expenditures – on media. Only (only?) $8.8M have been spent on salaries.
  • Hillary has spent $29.5M – about 70 cents to every dollar spent by Bernie – on media. She has spent $32.6M – almost 4 times as much as Bernie – on salaries.

The GOP candidates’ media buys don’t come anywhere close to either Democrats.

  • Trump, $7.6M
  • Cruz, $6.3M
  • (Kasich’s data is not yet available)

(To see all of this data for yourself, go to, click on the candidate, then on the ‘Expend’ tab for details.)

So, once again, this is not a hit piece or a judgment of Bernie or any of the candidates.┬áIt’s simply an attempt to answer a question I saw in a Facebook group about where all the money goes, and to raise awareness of the Election-Industrial Complex that puts more and more power into the hands of fewer and fewer oligarchs.

What conclusions you draw or what you decide to do with this information is, of course, up to you.