In recent years, the flow of money through such groups has grown exponentially. In 2006, tax-exempt nonprofits spent less than $5.2 million to influence voter attitudes. By 2012, however, the total had grown nearly sixty-fold, to more than $300 million. Virtually all of it was spent to support candidates indirectly rather than as public contributions to a candidate's PAC. Much of it went to pay for big TV ad buys under the pretense of promoting "social welfare" activities such as issue advocacy and voter education. However, such efforts were mostly just a cover for the real purpose of the organization.