2012 Independent Spending on Legislative Races

Print This Page

The FPPC followed 34 legislative races in the November election where groups made independent expenditures of $50,000 or more to support or oppose legislative candidates. The FPPC reports list over 50 committees that spent a total of nearly $23 million.

The spreadsheet below lists the five highest spending independent expenditure committees of $50,000 or more, the five districts where the highest amount of independent expenditures were made, and the top five donors to the highest spending independent expenditure committees.

Top 5

To help voters know who spent money to support or oppose legislative candidates, the Fair Political Practices Commission tracked and posted reports of independent spending of $50,000 or more on Senate and Assembly candidates in the November 6, 2012 elections.


Independent spending occurs when an individual or entity such as a corporation, union, association, firm, or political action committee (PAC) spends more than $1,000 of its funds in an election to support or oppose a candidate, and the money is spent without consulting with, or getting the consent of, the candidate or any persons acting on their behalf. Independent expenditures pay for communications (such as billboards, advertisements, mailings, and television or radio commercials) that expressly advocate the nomination, election or defeat of a candidate, but which are not made in coordination with a candidate.

Super PACs. The amount an individual or entity (other than a political party) may contribute to a state legislative candidate is limited to $3,900 per election. And the amount an individual or entity may give to a committee that makes contributions to state candidates is limited to $6,500 per year. But under the First Amendment and Supreme Court caselaw, there are no limits on independent spending to support or oppose candidates, or on the amount individuals or entities may give to political committees that make independent expenditures only (so-called "Super PACs" or "independent expenditure-only committees").

Disclosure. Independent spending is not limited, but is subject to strict reporting rules. All independent expenditures of $1,000 or more made within 90 days of a state election must be reported within 24 hours.

2012 Independent Spending Data. The FPPC report lists groups that make independent expenditures of $50,000 or more on state candidates, the names of the contributors who gave $10,000 or more to each independent expenditure committee, and the candidates supported or opposed by the independent expenditures. Areas of the spread sheet outlined in red provide new information since the last report posted on the FPPC website. Comprehensive information on all independent expenditures is available on the Secretary of State's website at www.sos.ca.gov.


2012 Independent Expenditures