2020 Presidential Race Campaign Fundraising


5 min read
Political Donations

Here’s a look at how much money each 2020 presidential candidate has raised so far.

Campaign Fundraising Basics

Fundraising Basics
Source: Pixabay

According to the Federal Election Commission, there are rules that apply to campaign fundraising. For example, certain statements — i.e. fundraising notices — by the campaign must be present on solicitations. An authorization notice must be present when a campaign solicits contributions through public communications or on a campaign website. The authorization notice basically states that a solicitation was authorized and paid for by the campaign. For example: “Paid for and authorized by Bernie 2020.”

Best efforts rules” states that when making solicitations, committees and their treasurers must put forth their best effort to obtain, maintain and report the name, address, occupation, and employer of each donor who gives more than $200 in an election cycle. Even if the donor has already contributed an aggregate amount of over $200 during a calendar year, each subsequent donation, regardless of the amount, must be identified in the same manner.

IRS Notice requirements include Section 6113 of the Internal Revenue Code, which requires political committees whose gross annual receipts normally exceed $100,000 to include a special notice on their solicitations to inform solicitees that contributions are not tax-deductible. “This provision applies to organizations that are not eligible to receive deductible charitable contributions and are described in either section 501(c), section 501(d), or section 527,” according to the IRS website.

Lastly, proper disclaimers are needed when campaign committees solicit contributions online. “They may satisfy this by online confirmation that the contribution complies with the federal limits and prohibitions and is not from a prohibited source,” the Federal Election Commission said on its website. “Committee treasurers are also responsible for examining all contributions received for evidence of illegality and compliance with contribution limits.”

Campaign Contribution Limits

Limits
Source: Pixabay

Did you know that there are limits to the number of contributions a candidate can receive? It’s true. The Federal Election Campaign Act amendments of 1974 set specific limits for campaign contributions. Here are the contribution limits for the 2019-2020 federal elections:

Recipient: Candidate committee
Donor limits: Individual – $2,800 per election; Candidate committee – $2,000 per election; PAC: multicandidate – $5,000 per election; PAC: non-multicandidate – $2,800 per election; Party committee: state/district/local – $5,000 per election (combined); Party committee: national – $5,000 per election

Recipient: PAC (SSF and nonconnected)
Donor limits: Individual – $5,000 per year; Candidate committee – $5,000 per year; PAC: multicandidate – $5,000 per year; PAC: non-multicandidate – $5,000 per year; Party committee: state/district/local – $5,000 per year (combined); Party committee: national – $5,000 per year

Recipient: Party committee: state/district/local
Donor limits: Individual – $10,000 per year (combined); Candidate committee – Unlimited transfers; PAC: multicandidate – $5,000 per year (combined); PAC: non-multicandidate – $10,000 per year (combined); Party committee: state/district/local – Unlimited transfers; Party committee: national – Unlimited transfers

Recipient: Party committee: national
Donor limits: Individual – $35,500 per year; Candidate committee – Unlimited transfers; PAC: multicandidate – $15,000 per year; PAC: non-multicandidate – $35,500 per year; Party committee: state/district/local – Unlimited transfers; Party committee: national – Unlimited transfers

Recipient: Additional national party committee accounts
Donor limits: Individual – $106,500 per account, per year; PAC: multicandidate – $45,000 per account, per year; PAC: non-multicandidate – $106,500 per account, per year

According to the Federal Election Commission, “all presidential primary elections held during an election year are considered one election for the purposes of the contribution limits. The primary election period ends on the date that the candidate accepts the nomination of the party. Although an individual may contribute up to the primary limit to a publicly funded presidential primary candidate, only a maximum of $250 of each individual’s contribution is counted towards federal matching funds.”

As for general elections, a contribution to a major party (Democrat or Republican) campaign is not allowed if the candidate opts to receive general election public funds. However, an individual may contribute to a nonmajor party nominee who receives partial general election public funds up to the expenditure limits. It’s important to note that the nominee is still subject to the same contribution limits that apply to House candidates.

Amount Raised So Far

Stack Of Money
Source: Pixabay

Here’s the amount raised by candidates so far in the 2020 presidential race (*NOTE: The following information comes from the Center for Responsive Politics, The New York Times, Forbes, and Axios.com):

Donald Trump (R) Incumbent
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $211,640,907
OUTSIDE MONEY: $20,452,253
*According to The New York Times, Donald Trump ended last year with more than twice as much cash on hand (i.e. the total amount of money the campaign had available on December 31) as Sen. Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren combined. He also had more money on hand than President Barack Obama had at the same time during his re-election campaign.

Tom Steyer (D)
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $205,380,488
OUTSIDE MONEY: $0

Michael Bloomberg (D)
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $200,359,619
OUTSIDE MONEY: $0
*Note: Michael Bloomberg is self-funding his campaign and refuses to accept contributions. He is also the richest man to run for president, with a current net worth of $65.2 billion (as of 2/20/2020).

Bernie Sanders (D)
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $107,916,369
OUTSIDE MONEY: $1,881
*According to The New York Times, Sen. Bernie Sanders raised the most money from individual donors for two quarters in a row in 2019. Figures showed that he held a significant cash advantage heading into 2020, having twice as much cash as Joe Biden at the start of January.

Elizabeth Warren (D)
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $81,291,563
OUTSIDE MONEY: $0
*According to Axios.com, Sen. Elizabeth Warren became the first first-time presidential candidate to hit three million donations faster than any other first-time presidential candidate. She reached this milestone about one week before Sen. Bernie Sanders did the same in 2016.

Pete Buttigieg (D)
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $75,427,078
OUTSIDE MONEY: $0

Joe Biden (D)
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $59,545,050
OUTSIDE MONEY: $0
*According to Axios.com, Joe Biden has raised and spent less money than other frontrunners and has started off 2020 with the least amount of money on hand out of the top five candidates.

Amy Klobuchar (D)
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $28,736,113
OUTSIDE MONEY: $0

Tulsi Gabbard (D)
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $12,447,703
OUTSIDE MONEY: $0

William F. Weld (R)
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $1,724,361
OUTSIDE MONEY: $0

CONCLUSION

Your turn! What do you think about the presidential campaign funding so far? Let us know in the comments section below.