Independent expenditures play a major role in the outcome of California elections. Million dollar contributions to independent expenditure committees are common as are multi-million expenditures made on behalf of candidates.
In 2006, nearly $20 million in independent expenditures was spent in the Governor's race in both the primary and general elections. With just 3 weeks to go in the 2010 general election, over $20.5 million in independent expenditures has been spent in this year's gubernatorial race - a new record.
While there are limits on the amount of contributions candidates can receive from a single source, there are no limits on what can be spent on independent expenditures. However, such expenditures must be made completely "independent" of the candidate; no coordination can take place between the candidate, or their campaign, and the entity making the independent expenditure.
Groups that make independent expenditures of $10,000 or more, as well as the daily and cumulative totals of independent expenditures made to support or oppose Brown or Whitman are listed.