Parties eclipsed $1 billion in 2006

The two major parties spent more than $1 billion in the 2006 elections cycle, with Republicans raising $600 million and Democrats $485 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.

The Republicans raised 40 percent more than in the last midterm cycle, 2002, while Democrats more than doubled their performance of four years earlier.

The figures combine national, state and local party committees. The national committee totals were not very different in 2002, but at that time the parties could still raise “soft money.”

Individuals can give up to $26,700 to national party committees, and political action committees can give up to $15,000.