Re: How much money spent campaigning???
>> I am going to go ahead and assume that spending $144 million to gain high office in the US leads to lucrative opportunities to recoup the money in some fashion.
Some of it is that, yes. But not purely so.
While close scrutiny of public officials is warranted, to catch the corrupt as well as the simply incompetent, one cannot automatically assume they must be corrupt simply because it doesn't make financial sense for them to seek office.
Look: what good is money if you don't use it to buy the things you would like to have? I mean, why would anyone buy Ferraris, Veyrons and similar when there are perfectly serviceable Toyotas at a fraction of the price? Hell, the Toyotas are probably more reliable and thus, technically, better cars! The answer, of course, is that some people like having such vehicles for reasons other than transportation. And a subset of said group can afford them, so they do.
Similarly, some people want to hold public office for reasons other than the paltry salary it pays. So it makes sense for them to pay a lot of money to get what they want. Now, the reasons for each individual budding politician will vary, naturally—again similar to the situation with the cars, really: some want the power, some crave the prestige and others simply like the looks of the things. I have no doubt that some of them seek office for the corruption opportunities it presents. But it's not a given.