How are election campaigns funded in the United States?

The elections in the United States are approaching and not only the Americans hold their breath. Everyone wonders who will win, Biden or Trump? But, in order to reach the White House, it is essential to obtain the necessary financing to pay for a great electoral campaign.

Being able to fund an electoral campaign is a very important factor to be able to reach the presidency of the United States. Candidates battle for each state, traversing the country from north to south and east to west. At the same time, they try to garner political and economic support.

It is precisely on the economic plane that we find very diverse and complex sources of financing. Here are the top options candidates turn to to pay for their colossal campaigns.

Political Action Committees (PAC)

The so-called PACs are structures whose purpose is to obtain the necessary funds to finance the campaign of a candidate for the presidency of the United States. Created in the 1940s to raise money for the reelection of then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, they comprise individuals, businesses, and unions.

These committees can make donations directly and indirectly to the different candidates. The body in charge of supervising these organizations is the Federal Elections Commission. It should be noted that there are limits to the contributions that can be made to a PAC, which can receive a maximum of $ 5,400 per person.

Therefore, the PACs, we see that they have an important influence, although they should not report the origin of the money, which makes them not very transparent structures.

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The SuperPACs

Authorized by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2010, they have been the subject of controversy, as they involve unlimited funding for electoral campaigns.

In this way, companies, individuals and unions can make unlimited donations to the SuperPACs. Thanks to this source of funding, there are no barriers to electoral communication campaigns. Such is the power of these organizations that, with their vast resources, they are capable of decisively influencing the direction of the vote. Although there is no limit to the amount of donations, they must inform the Federal Electoral Commission who their donors are and what their expenses are.

In fact, there are several large American businessmen who, trying to influence American politics, make large donations to the SuperPACs.

Traditional methods

The parties themselves, through their committees, turn their efforts to pay for electoral campaigns. In this sense, we find two options. Direct donations to political parties and presidential candidates, which are capped at $ 2,700 for the candidate, while if the money goes to the party, the cap is set at $ 33,400. The second way is to make donations not to campaigns, but to state and local committees.

Another very popular way to provide financial support to a candidate or political party is to raise large sums of money through a charity event. Subsequently, the amounts collected will go to the candidate you want to support.

Other sources of funding

Without obligation to pay taxes to the federal government, the so-called 527s fight to influence the election of the different political offices. The body in charge of its supervision is the Internal Tax Service.

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As for their way of influencing politics, they use television campaigns, advertisements on the net and telephone calls, trying to praise a candidate or projecting a negative image of a certain politician. Once again, the problem with this type of organization lies in its opacity, since its donors are anonymous and operate with so-called shadow money.

Supervision and control

Beyond the lack of transparency that certain organizations destined to finance electoral campaigns may show, there are several laws and organisms destined to the tasks of supervision and control. This is the line of the Federal Electoral Campaign Law, which determines the maximum of economic contributions to parties and candidates. Likewise, this law also limits the degree of influence that certain people and organizations try to exert in elections.

Regarding the institutions that are in charge of control functions, there is the FEC or Federal Electoral Commission. As an institution, it must operate independently, monitoring public financing of campaigns, obtaining information on how they are financed and making public who the donors are and the different expenses associated with electoral campaigns.

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