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Election 2020: Follow the Money

Question of the Month

Looking ahead to 2023, how do you expect to rate President Biden's performance?

Please answer the poll only once.

And the highest bidder is ......

Campaigns have to file quarterly reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regarding their fundraising and spending. Here is a summary of each campaign's fundraising through August 2020. The next quarterly reporting deadline is October 15, 2020 though campaigns sometimes release their figures sooner.

Campaign Finance 101

Campaign finance rules restrict individual donations directly to a candidate to $2,800 during the primaries and $2,800 during the general election.

Following the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision, outside groups can raise virtually unlimited funds to spend on election activities. These groups are usually organized as Political Action Committees (PACs or Super PACs) and can raise money from individuals, corporations, labor unions, etc. PACs may promote a particular candidate, but they are not allowed to coordinate with the candidate or campaign. In reality, this restriction might mean little or nothing.

A third component is "dark money." These are funds given to nonprofit organizations that can receive unlimited donations from corporations, unions, or individuals. Occasionally, an organization is formed shortly before the election so the organization doesn't have to disclose finances or donors until after the election.

Here are a few sites worth checking out.

California Political Money Tracker
"we are a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprifit organization that reveals the influence of money politics, informs and empowers voters, and advances reforms that promote a more responsive democracy." (Center for Responsive Politics) is a nonpartisan guide to money’s influence on U.S. elections and public policy.

Federal Election Commission
The FEC is an independent regulatory commission to oversee elections. Candidates and outside groups that raise and spend funds for election related activities must file reports with the FEC. These reports are available for public perusal. You can also search for contributions by individuals.