Presidential campaign funding


Funding for political candidates has been a major part of every candidate’s political campaign process. This has been clearly demonstrated with the presidential candidates running for the upcoming election in November.

The four presidential candidates who have raised the most for their campaigns are Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz respectively.

The source of funding, however, differs greatly amongst current presidential candidates. For example, Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson, and most notably Bernie Sanders have financed their campaigns predominantly upon donations from candidate committees.

In 2010, Congress passed a bill appropriately titled FEC vs. Citizens United. This bill allows any one person or PAC to donate any amount of money without disclosing who they are. This would mean that  campaigns can receive large amounts of  money to fund their operations.

Junior Alexa Layne sees Sanders’ campaign funding as a measure of his support as a presidential candidate.

“To me this shows how much support he has from the general public — working class people who would typically be unable to make a donation larger than a couple hundred dollars. He’s obvously sparking a connection with the people if he can garner this magnitude of support.”

According to the New York Times, over 88 percent of Sanders’ campaign has been funded through individual donations of $200 and less, which is remarkable considering that his campaign has received the second-highest financial support of all current candidates in the running.

Other candidates have been financed mainly by through the support of outside organizations and groups. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have both received greater amounts of outside funding from Super PACS (Political Action Committees) than from smaller donations.

The method of funding for candidate’s campaigns is perhaps something to consider.

Senior Ghazal Babai thinks that the source of a political candidate’s campaign funding would not be a major deciding factor for who she would choose to vote for.

“I think that knowing a certain private organization contributes directly to a candidate’s campaign would influence whether I vote for them or not,” Babai said. “However, I don’t know how much exactly this would impact my decision, because if I already like the candidate and I am in agreement with their values and viewpoints, then I don’t really think that this would have much of an impact on my decision. It probably would not completely sway my vote but it is something that is definitely a small part of my decision.”

California remains the state that has contributed the greatest amount of money to presidential candidates’ campaigns currently at $41,495,680 in total, according to the Federal Election Commission.

However, this may be surprising to some student voters  given the fact that presidential candidates rarely campaign in California.