Compared to 2000, donations to candidates, parties, and political action committees were $4.8 billion this year, a 55% increase from 2000. The increase had a lot to do with the use of online donations. Glenn Hall of Bloomberg discusses this trend. The article quotes Alexis Rice (creator of campaignsonline.org) and notes:
Political fund-raisers incorporated the Internet into their appeals to an unprecedented extent, and a 2002 campaign finance law doubled the amount of money individuals could give to campaigns from $1,000 to $2,000, Cooper said.
This election was the first in which the presidential candidates extensively used the Internet as a fund-raising tool, said Alexis Rice, a fellow at the Washington-based Center for the Study of American Government at Johns Hopkins University.
``The way campaigns grew this time was in online fund raising,'' Rice said.
After former Vermont Governor Howard Dean raised more than $20 million online in 2003 for his unsuccessful bid for the presidential nomination, both Democratic nominee John Kerry and President George W. Bush tapped into the Internet, Rice said. Kerry raised $82 million and Bush $14 million online, Rice said.