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Outside Spending

The term "outside spending" refers to political expenditures made by groups or individuals independently of, and not coordinated with, candidates' committees. Groups in this category range from conventional party committees to the more controversial super PACs and 501(c) "dark money" organizations.

Here at OpenSecrets.org, we provide breakdowns of data reported by outside spending groups to the Federal Election Commission (see menu at left). We have a separate section devoted to dark money groups – politically active nonprofits that aren't required to publicly disclose their donors, unlike virtually every other organization spending money to affect the outcomes of federal elections. Through a dedicated project, we have dug up data on the donors of more than $1 billion – and counting – since 2008.

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Outside Spending by Cycle Thru October 1st of election year, Excluding Party Committees


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Political Nonprofits Spending, by Type

Totals only include political spending from nonprofit treasuries that is reported to the FEC

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Donor Disclosure Analysis of Outside Spending 1990 - 2020

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Outside Spending

GOP groups, healthcare industry attack Democrats’ public option

September 30, 2020 | Republican super PACs are attacking Democratic Senate challengers over their support for a public health insurance option using talking points from a well-funded healthcare industry group.

NFL owners give nearly 9-1 to Republicans, including Trump

September 25, 2020 | While players protest, NFL team owners are spending their fortunes on political donations totaling $4.2 million so far this election cycle.

Outside spending in 2020 election surpasses $1 billion, on track to break records

September 23, 2020 | Super PACs, political parties and “dark money” nonprofits, among others, have injected over $1 billion into federal races, a record at this point in an election cycle.

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