A swirl of contradictions defined political money trends in 2015, a year dominated by unfettered super PACs and secretive groups, but also by candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who rejected big outside money and still managed to fire up voters.Congress set the tone even before the year began by quietly slipping a rider into omnibus spending legislation late in 2014 that blew the lid off the limits on contributions to the national political parties. The previous party contribution cap had been $64,800 per election cycle, but the new rules allow parties to pocket as much as $1.6 million from a single individual for special accounts that pay for conventions, recounts, and buildings.GOP leaders promptly set about scooping up six-figure contributions from CEOs, financiers, and lobbyists for those special party accounts. Republicans moved to exploit the new, higher party limits much more swiftly than Democrats: the Republican National Committee alone has collected more than $18 million for its convention, building, and recount kitties, while the Democratic National Committee has netted less than $3 million for those special accounts.

Source: Political Money in 2015: More Secrecy, Deregulation, Voter Anger

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