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Congressional Campaign Spending: 1976-1996

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Publication Date: August 1997

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: 97-793

Topic: Politics (Campaigns, lobbying, and pressure groups)


House and Senate candidates spent a record $765.3 million in 1996, up from $115.5 million in 1976. Average House expenditures rose from $73,000 to $493,000, while
average Senate campaign costs went from $595,000 to $3.3 million. Among winners, the best measure of the cost of election to Congress, the 1996 House average was $680,000 and for the Senate, $3.8 million. Even controlled for inflation, spending levels in all categories more than doubled from 1976-1996. This report presents data on costs of congressional campaigns, in both aggregate and (mean) average terms.