As commentators in the UK get excited over the amounts of money donated to the Tory Party from the financial services sector – eleven million notes last year, making this revenue stream just over half the total – we could get a sense of proportion by looking at the numbers involved in campaigning Stateside.
As RollCall notes, Rep. Michelle Bachman from Minnesota, self-styled House talking head of the “tea party” movement, raised a whopping 13 million Dollars just for her own Congress campaign. Also, one and a half million of this has been queried by the Federal Election Commission (FEC): the Bachmann campaign must provide more information, especially where individuals have donated 200 Dollars or more.
And even Bachmann’s fund raising efforts pale into insignificance when put alongside those for the California Gubernatorial race: Meg Whitman, who had hoped to succeed Arnie as Governor, lost that race even though her campaign spent a colossal 160 million Dollars on it.
Whitman’s campaign easily beat the previous record of 109 million Dollars expended by Michael Bloomberg’s 2009 campaign for the New York mayoralty. But even these sums are dwarfed by the 2008 Presidential Election cycle.
The total for the Presidential Election alone was estimated at 1.6 billion Dollars, with the entire cycle – including House and Senate campaigns – coming in at 5.3 billion.
So for the Tories to be raking in 22 million quid in a year puts them firmly in the class of enthusiastic amateurs, when compared with their contemporaries in the USA.