Bloomberg by the Numbers: $7 Billion

Photograph by Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Images of President Barack Obama, left, and Republican Mitt Romney are seen on a monitor while a trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Nov. 7, 2012.

That’s about how much was spent on the 2012 election, according to an estimate from the Federal Election Commission.

Candidates spent about $3.2 billion, compared with $2 billion spent by the political parties and $2.1 billion by outside political committees, FEC chairwoman Ellen Weintraub said yesterday at a commission meeting and in a statement.

“The election of 2012 was record-breaking in the campaign finance world,” Weintraub said. Pending a review of final campaign finance reports due yesterday to the FEC, “it’s possible that this is the first election where outside groups outspent the major parties.”

“Certainly, there were races where outside groups outspent candidates, so that’s kind of an unusual situation that we find ourselves in,” Weintraub said.

The biggest expenditures for candidates, party organizations and outside groups include television advertising. Weintraub said the FEC estimate also includes overhead expenses such as salaries and rent.

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