Recently filed campaign finance reports help paint a full picture of exactly just how much money House and Senate candidates controlled during the 2022 elections, as total spending set a record for a midterm election.
The bottom line: Raising campaign cash has essentially become a second full-time job for most members of Congress, especially those in competitive reelection races. Yet this fundraising treadmill comes at a steep cost. Hours spent dialing for dollars are hours diverted away from lawmakers’ legislative and oversight responsibilities.
Members of Congress should be unified in wanting to fix our broken campaign finance system. Some have offered proposals for reform that have garnered bipartisan support. For instance, last summer Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Dean Phillips (D-MN) introduced a bipartisan bill that would prohibit members of Congress from fundraising while Congress is in session.
For now, lawmakers — especially those in the most competitive races — remain under intense pressure to raise money, each and every day.
Here are 13 key numbers to know about congressional fundraising during the 117th Congress, based on an Issue One review of recently filed campaign finance reports that cover all of lawmakers’ activities between January 2021 and December 2022.
$1.1 billion: Total amount of campaign cash that all House members running for reelection in 2022 combined to raise between January 2021 and December 2022:
$2.1 million: Median amount of money raised by a member of the House of Representatives who stood for reelection in November 2022 — an average of about $2,800 per day.
$2.9 million: Median amount of money raised by a freshman member of the 117th Congress — an average of about $3,900 per day.
$5.3 million: Median amount of money raised by a House incumbent running for reelection in 2022 in a race rated as a toss-up by the Cook Political Report — an average of about $7,200 per day, or roughly 2.5 times as much money as the typical House member.
$758 million: Total amount of campaign cash that all senators running for reelection in 2022 combined to raise between January 2021 and December 2022.
24%: Portion of that money that was raised by just one senator, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), who raised $184 million between the time he was sworn into office in late January 2021 and the end of 2022 — an average of about $260,000 per day.
$11.4 million: Median amount of money raised between January 2021 and December 2022 by a sitting senator running for reelection in 2022 — an average of about $15,600 per day.
$1.8 million: Median amount of money raised between January 2021 and December 2022 by senators who were not up for reelection in 2022 — an average of about $2,500 per day.
93%: Portion of members of the 117th Congress who, as of Election Day 2022, had a leadership PAC, a type of political action committee operated in addition to lawmakers’ official campaign committees that are often criticized by liberals and conservatives alike as slush funds that raise most of their money from special interests.
$243 million: Total amount of money that members of Congress raised for their leadership PACs between January 2021 and December 2022.
14%: Portion of that money that came from small-dollar donors who contributed $200 or less. The rest primarily came from wealthy individuals and special interest PACs.
$175,000: Amount of money the typical member of the 117th Congress with a leadership PAC raised for their leadership PAC between January 2021 and December 2022.
44: Number of freshman House members who were sworn into office in January as part of the 118th Congress who have already formed leadership PACs. Of these, 37 formed leadership PACs prior to being elected. As of today, this means 60% of the 73 freshman House members have already formed a leadership PAC.
Ariana Rojas contributed to this report.