The 2016 election is expected to be the most expensive election to date. Bloomberg says that the price tag may be almost $10 billion, doubling the cost of the 2012 election.
Thursday's Republican debated yielded another allusion to lavish campaign expenditures.
"Unlike Hillary Clinton, I don't have masses of money in the bank, hundreds of millions of dollars," said Ted Cruz when asked about a $1 million loan from Goldman Sachs which, according to the New York Times, he failed to disclose.
Campaign finance in general has perpetually been a talking point on the campaign trail so far, especially in the debates where candidates have accosted and accused one another.
Donald Trump, for example, has claimed to be the only candidate running his campaign 100 percent on his own dime.
"Super PACs are a disaster. They're a scam. They cause dishonesty," said Trump in the GOP debate Oct. 28.
Trump has used his self-funded campaign in order to criticize other candidates, including Jeb Bush.
"The donors, the special interests, the lobbyists have very strong power over these people," said Trump in the Sept. 16 debate. "Nobody has control of me other than the people of this country. I'm going to do the right thing."
Ben Carson made a similar claim about his own campaign funding in the Oct. 28 debate. "I in no way am willing to get in the bed with special interest groups or lick the boots of billionaires," he said.
The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 requires candidates to disclose all money raised and spent for their campaigns.
Here's the Federal Election Commission's most recent report:
Clinton is the clear frontrunner with $43 million spent and $76 million raised. This $76 million is a small amount, however, compared to the projected cost of her campaign. The Hill expects that her expenditures will reach $1.5 billion.
According the Washington Post, in over 41 years Hillary and Bill Clinton together have managed to raise at least $3 billion from more than 300,000 donors.
Democrat Bernie Sanders has the second-highest contributions ($40 million) but he, along with Ted Cruz, is one of only two candidates who has spent less than half of their total funds.
Even though Republican candidates have been able to raise more funds combined ($147 million) than the Democrats ($122 million), as individuals they have raised significantly less than either Clinton or Sanders.
Ben Carson has raised the most of the Republican candidates with $31 million. The Atlantic reports that Carson's contributions have been largely "grassroots," coming from many smaller donors rather than a few big spenders.
Most of Carson's money, however, is being "plowed right back into fundraising costs," reports The Atlantic.
Jeb Bush has spent the second most of the Republican candidates, but it most likely won't be enough. Bush's campaign spending is sadly exemplified by a headline in the Washington Post: "Team Jeb Bush has spent $6.4 million on ads for every 1 point he has lost in the polls."
Trump is the only candidate who has spent more than he has raised. True to his word, he has invested his own money in his campaign.
While Trump has spent relatively little money so far, his spending is expected to increase dramatically in 2016. "I'll be spending a minimum of $2 million dollars a week — and perhaps substantially more than that," said Trump, according to CBS News.