That astonishing amount includes money spent by candidates and outside groups. Politico reports $3.2 billion of the total came from candidates. Political parties spent another $2 billion while outside groups spent about $2.1 billion.
Politico reports FEC officials say future elections should see even more spending.
Spending in the first post-Citizens United presidential election exploded as the FEC remained gridlocked on critical issues. Three years after the Supreme Court ruling that changed the campaign finance system, the FEC has yet to change its regulations to address the decision.
The agency also found that despite the proliferation of super PACs, traditional political action committees outspent the new breed. Of the total spending by outside committees, $1.2 billion was spent by traditional PACs and $950 million was spent by super PACs.