A January 2010 Supreme Court decision (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) permits corporations and unions to make political expenditures from their treasuries directly and through other organizations, as long as the spending (often in the form of TV ads), is done independently of any candidate.
In many cases, the activity takes place without complete or immediate disclosure about who is funding it, preventing voters from understanding who is truly behind many political messages. The spending figures cited are what the groups reported to the FEC; it does not account for all the money the groups spent, since certain kinds of ads are not required to be reported.
Donations to congressional campaigns come from 4 main sources:
1. Political action committees or PACs.
2. Large individual contributions of more than $200.
3. Small individual contributions of $200 or less.
4. Self-Funding money from the candidates’ own pocket.
Only a tiny fraction of Americans actually give campaign contributions to political candidates, parties or PACs. The ones who give contributions large enough to be itemized (over $200) is even smaller. The impact of those donations, however, is huge.
A joint analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics and Sunlight Foundation of elite donors in America unveiled the following facts.Donors: 1% of 1%
Both parties are reliant on donations from the 1% of the 1% Percenters.