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The Sunlight Foundation follows the money in government and campaigning.  Today, the foundation released reports on how effective the biggest independent expenditures in the 2012 election cycle were in terms of Return On Investment (ROI).

For Americans worried about the influence of wealthy donors on the political process, this report will provide some relief.  For Americans wanting to take glee in the failures of Karl Rove and his minions, this report will provide some hilarity.

Ah, Rove.  Hell, let's get this one out of the way first:

AMERICAN CROSSROADS
1.29% ROI
Total spent campaign 2012: $104,710,427

    1.29% of $103,559,672 spent in the general election and ended in the desired result.
    Supported 0 winning candidates ; 0.00% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
    Opposed 2 losing candidates; 1.29% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.

Can't imagine why Republican donors would be mad at Karl with that performance.  But wait, he has company!  More below the jump.

Rove wasn't alone in flushing millions down the toilet.  How did the U.S. Chamber of Commerce do?

US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
6.90%
Total spent campaign 2012: $32,676,075

    6.90% of $31,937,037 spent in the general election and ended in the desired result.
    Supported 4 winning candidates ; 2.49% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
    Opposed 3 losing candidates; 4.41% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.

Okay, they did support four winners.  A bit better than Rove.  

My favorite right-wing dark-money operation this cycle was the Now Or Never PAC, which aided Tea Party types like Joe Walsh.  

NOW OR NEVER PAC
14.30%
Total spent campaign 2012: $7,760,174

    14.30% of $7,064,959 spent in the general election and ended in the desired result.
    Supported 0 winning candidates ; 0.00% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
    Opposed 1 losing candidates; 14.30% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.

The aim of the National Rifle Association left much to be desired.
NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA POLITICAL VICTORY FUND
0.81%
Total spent campaign 2012: $11,787,523

    0.81% of $10,955,688 spent in the general election and ended in the desired result.
    Supported 27 winning candidates ; 0.42% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
    Opposed 5 losing candidates; 0.39% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.

Here's the ROI from the best-named of them all, given the context:
ENDING SPENDING ACTION FUND
15.34%
Total spent campaign 2012: $13,238,296

    15.34% of $12,821,276 spent in the general election and ended in the desired result.
    Supported 4 winning candidates ; 7.82% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
    Opposed 2 losing candidates; 7.52% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.

There's more reports at the link atop this diary, but you get the idea.  While the effects of Citizens United on our democracy remain troubling and toxic, we can at least enjoy the fact that so much money was spent to so little end in the 2012 cycle.

Well, some money was effective:

Planned Parenthood Action Fund Inc.
97.82%
Total spent campaign 2012: $6,886,468

    97.82% of $5,141,216 spent in the general election and ended in the desired result.
    Supported 11 winning candidates ; 26.51% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
    Opposed 11 losing candidates; 71.31% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.

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