clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

3.5 numbers that help explain how the 2016 campaigns work

Presidential campaigns and their affiliated Super PACs were required to file their financial records from January with the Federal Election Commission Saturday, giving the public some insight into how much it costs to run for president.

Hint: It's a lot.

The Center for Public Integrity curated a list of must-know numbers and figures from the January FEC report. Here are three (and a half) of the center's greatest hits:

1) $4.38 million (on Bernie Sanders's payroll)

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spent $4.38 million on his campaign's payroll in January, making up nearly 13 percent of his overall $34 million in January expenses — nearly the same amount President Barack Obama spent on payroll in one month during the general election. In comparison, Hillary Clinton spent $5.5 million on payroll from July through August of last year, according to reporting from the Washington Times.

Sanders has made raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour one of his main talking points this election cycle, and he is the only presidential candidate who pays his campaign interns (at $10.10 an hour).

2) $3.5 million (in one Super PAC contribution)

Giving Sanders more Hillary Clinton/Wall Street ammunition to grumble about, billionaire hedge fund manager James Simons gave $3.5 million to Priorities USA Action, the Super PAC supporting Clinton, in January.

Clinton has made an effort to distance herself from Priorities USA Action, which currently has about $45 million on hand, reminding voters that the PAC was initially created in support of Barack Obama and decided to support her this cycle.

Sanders does not have a Super PAC officially affiliated with his name, and has made headlines for the number of individual contributions (averaging $27 each) his campaign has received.

3) $204,000 (on those iconic Trump hats)

GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Campaigns In Cedar Falls, Iowa Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

It's hard to tell sometimes whether people are wearing the "Make America Great Again" baseball caps ironically or out of genuine support for Donald Trump. Either way, his campaign spent $204,000 in January making hats, as part of a $708,000 budget for campaign merchandise.

3.5) $0 (Republicans' tears)

GOP campaign bankroller and Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has spent up to $100 million on Republican campaigns in past election cycles, contributed $0 to Super PACs in January. Politico says he might be waiting to see how Marco Rubio, who placed second in South Carolina, will fare in primaries to come before throwing in the big bucks.