Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Essential Acronyms of Campaign Funding

Good Wednesday, all! As promised MO Funds, MO Votes is presenting you with a fresh new entry. Tonight’s blog shall be focusing on the core aspects of campaign financing, with a bit of emphasis on the particular Missouri laws.

One key area of financially supporting a candidate’s campaign is the use of Political Action Committees (PACs).  PACs are political committees that are organized purely for the purpose of obtaining and spending funds to either support or defeat candidates in an election.  Nearly every major campaign has utilized these committees, since their inception in 1944, in order to help their candidate achieve victory. PACs come from a wide variety of sources, such as, businesses, labor unions, trade organizations, or even ideological associations. Although they might come from different backgrounds, they must all operate under the same procedures. When looking at their contribution restrictions, PACs are held to $5,000 dollars for each candidate committee each election (primary, general, or special), $15,000 a year to any party committee, and only $5,000 a year to any other PAC (Contributor Limits) . These restrictions set up a system that requires any major election to utilize a great many PACs that may want to support their cause and it also establishes a system that evokes equality as no one committee is allowed special privilege over another.

A second  area of financial support is the PAC’s companion the 527.  These groups get their name from an Internal Revenue Service’s code which grants tax-exempt status to political groups at all levels of government. 527’s are different from PAC’s because they have no monetary restrictions. Because these non-profit groups are regulated by the IRS and not the FEC (Federal Election Commission) there are no limits on donor contributions or spending.  The groups avoid being regulated by the FEC by not advocating the election or defeat of a specific candidate. The groups successfully convey their messages through ads which depict the candidates in either positive or negative ways.  A 527 group that gained fame in the recent past were the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. This special interest group strongly opposed Kerry in his campaign for presidency in 2004. The group ran many TV ads that claimed to have the “real story” on Kerry’s military tour.

For more information on 527s check out Public Integrity and Open Secrets.
For more information on PACs check out  The Federal Election Commission  and Open Secrets

Did you know that? If you are interested in donating to a campaign in Missouri, there is a
one hundred cash limitation and a twenty-five anonymous cash limit! All donations require
proper contact information.

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