News Release


Laura Muth,
Maryland PIRG

New Report Shows Impact of Big Money in the 2012 Election

32 Super PAC Mega-Donors Match Total Giving of 3.7 Million Presidential Campaign Small Donors; Nearly Half of TV Ads in Presidential Race Funded by “Dark Money”
For Immediate Release


AnnapolisIt took just 32 billionaires and corporations, giving an average of $9.9 million apiece to Super PACs, to match every single dollar that small donors gave to the Romney and Obama campaigns, according to Billion Dollar Democracy, a new report by Maryland PIRG and Demos. Those small donations, which amounted to more than $313 million, came from more than 3.7 million individuals.

“Americans who are wondering why it seems tougher to get ahead or even get a fair shake in today’s economy should look to big money politics for answers,” said Adam Lioz, report co-author and Counsel for Demos.  “When a tiny group of wealthy donors fuels political campaigns, they get to set the agenda in Washington, and the rest of us are left to argue over that agenda.”

“The first post-Citizens United presidential election confirmed our fears that the new unlimited-money regime allows well-heeled special interests and secret spenders to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens,” commented Laura Muth, associate with Maryland PIRG.

The report provides a detailed analysis of all federal election spending and fundraising by campaigns and Super PACs. The data uncovers the undue influence that large donors, business interests and secret spenders had in 2012.

Billion-Dollar Democracy also found that groups that do not disclose the source of their funds paid for nearly half of all television advertising in the presidential race.

The report concludes with policy recommendations for every level of government. Most importantly, the report calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore our ability to set reasonable limits on campaign spending.



Maryland PIRG is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.




Defend the CFPB

Tell your senators to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

Support us

Your donation supports Maryland PIRG's work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates, and take action on critical issues.
Optional Member Code