Working from Federal Election Commission data on independent expenditures starting on January 1, 2009 and ending with today’s release, here’s a graph showing the distribution of independent money (untraceable beyond the front groups) used to support and oppose the political parties’ candidates for federal office:
I’m not leaving third party candidates off this chart by design; spending on third parties is literally off the chart all on its own. According to the FEC data, there have been absolutely NO independent expenditures made to support the campaigns of third party candidates, and only a very small volume of independent expenditures have been dedicated to opposing third party candidates. $89.3 million has been spent either to oppose Democrats or to support Republicans; $60.1 million has been spent either to oppose Republicans or to support Democrats. And a large majority of the money, $112.4 million, has been spent to oppose candidates for office; only $37.4 million in independent expenditures have been made in the effort to support candidates.