In her upcoming re-election race for California's 37th Congressional District, Rep. Karen Bass has raised nearly 100 times more than her Republican challenger. Given that it's not a competitive race, she's actually given $6,000 of her fundraising to other Democratic congressional campaigns.
Bass, a Democrat who represents the district where USC is located, spent a little bit of money to help boost her party's candidates across the country. Her one California House race donation was to Katie Hill, running to unseat Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale).
These figures are just a small sampling of the complicated campaign finance world with just a few weeks until November's midterm elections. What does it all mean?
Political candidates accept money from citizens, corporations and political action committees. Knowing who is giving money to whom can tell you a lot, but with so much information, it can be easy to get lost.
And, using fundraising data as the sole barometer for success is misleading, such as Hillary Clinton's pricey 2016 presidential run, said Geoffrey Cowan, Annenberg family chair for communication leadership at USC.
"Some people assume that a lot of money can buy you victory. That's not true," Cowan said. "You have to have enough, but it doesn't have to be the most."
Fundraising may affect the way candidates see the world and approach issues, according to Cowan. Campaign contributions — including the names of donors and the amount of money they gave — are public record. Voters sometimes use this data to infer the way a candidate may lean on certain policy issues.
For example, if a candidate received large donations from a gun control advocacy group, some would assume the candidate's policies may echo a similar viewpoint. Those types of assumptions can distract voters from the whole picture, Cowan said. That same candidate may have received donations from those in favor of gun owners' rights as well.
"Unless you understand both of those sides, you really aren't able to make an analysis," Cowan said. "Don't make the assumption based off of one set of contributions."
Understanding companies' contributions in particular, can also help voters determine where they want to spend their money, said Kris Coombs, vice president of programming for USC's Graduate Student Government.
"A lot of people's economic decisions, if they have the means to make such a decision, might be based off whether the company itself is giving to candidates they approve or parties that they approve of," Coombs said, citing corporations like Hobby Lobby.
When people spend money at these corporations, they're giving the companies more money to donate to political campaigns that they may or may not support, Coombs said.
Every California congressional district and a Senate seat are up for election this Nov. 6. Understanding how candidates are receiving funds is one of many tools that can be used to help voters make decisions, but, "Don't make too much of it," Cowan said. "It may be that it's relevant. It may be that it isn't."
Voters can find complete campaign finance data from the Federal Election Committee here.