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Steve W
04-04-2007, 02:21 PM
Hi,

I'm a Brit, so know virtually zero about this, so can anyone tell me where I might find answers to the following, if no one in the forum knows, please? I only need the 'dummies' version, nothing complicated, by the way.

I've looked on opensecrets.org - that's great for telling you who gets what, but doesn't really get to the basics of what I'm looking for.

1. I read that the giving of huge donations was banned in 2002, but that that law was later appealed and revoked/amended. So can, say, $1,000,000+ donations be made to a presidential candidate from one source?

2. If not, can a company/wealthy individual exploit loopholes in the law (by forming a committee or something) so they can give bigger donations than is strictly allowed?

3. When someone pledges a very large amount of money to a presidential campaign, at what point is it handed over? At the moment it's pledged; in instalments; whenever the person pledging wants to?

Any info, no matter how brief, or website links will be most appreciated.

Thanks for your time,
Steve

ink wench
04-04-2007, 04:59 PM
Hi,

I'm a Brit, so know virtually zero about this, so can anyone tell me where I might find answers to the following, if no one in the forum knows, please? I only need the 'dummies' version, nothing complicated, by the way.

I've looked on opensecrets.org - that's great for telling you who gets what, but doesn't really get to the basics of what I'm looking for.

I'll try to help but I don't know much. I'm just someone who's donated money in the past.

1. I read that the giving of huge donations was banned in 2002, but that that law was later appealed and revoked/amended. So can, say, $1,000,000+ donations be made to a presidential candidate from one source?

As far as I know, individual contributions are still limited to $2000 a person per campaign.

2. If not, can a company/wealthy individual exploit loopholes in the law (by forming a committee or something) so they can give bigger donations than is strictly allowed?

There are always ways for individuals to get around this. Bush's biggest campaign donors were given names like "pioneers" and "rangers" based on the amount of money they could bundle from multiple people to give. Technically this wasn't so much exploiting a loophole as it was a way to get motivated (and rich) people to round up other rich people for cash.

Also, I believe individuals and organizations can use however much money they want to make their own propaganda, they just need to disclose who they are.

The rules for corporations are different, I think. Corporate donations can be huge, but I'm not sure how they do it. Some of it is money that's give to a party rather than a person, and I don't know if there are limits on that.

3. When someone pledges a very large amount of money to a presidential campaign, at what point is it handed over? At the moment it's pledged; in instalments; whenever the person pledging wants to?

Don't know about pledging, but when I gave money I just charged it to my credit card and it came off like any other purchase. (I did it online.)

Any info, no matter how brief, or website links will be most appreciated.

I know I've come across websites with more info, if I can find them again I'll let you know. Hope that helps a little!

Thanks for your time,
Steve

Steve W
04-04-2007, 08:33 PM
Hi Ink Wench (cool name!),

Yes, this helps - I know so little! Thank you. But any website links will be greatly appreciated.

It's mainly the ways corporations/wealthy individuals give huge donations that I'm interested in. Opensecrets.org gives industry donation breakdowns - staggering amounts - and info on which parties/candidates get how much, but I need to know how you would go about making a huge donation in one campaign, to one candidate. Plus, like I said, if someone pledges $1M, do they simply write a check, or hand it over in installments, or what?

Thanks again,
Steve

Steve W
04-05-2007, 07:49 PM
Hi Ink Wench,

Just going over your answers again and I note -

Bush's biggest campaign donors were given names like "pioneers" and "rangers" based on the amount of money they could bundle from multiple people to give.
Does this mean a multi-millionaire might not be able to donate $1,000,000 to a presidential candidate because of this 'soft money' law, but if he split it between, say, 500 'friends' he could get away with it by turning it into small donations of $2000 (the maximum individual donation allowed, I've read) from 500 individuals?

Cheers,
Steve

Jamesaritchie
04-05-2007, 08:08 PM
Hi Ink Wench,

Just going over your answers again and I note -

Does this mean a multi-millionaire might not be able to donate $1,000,000 to a presidential candidate because of this 'soft money' law, but if he split it between, say, 500 'friends' he could get away with it by turning it into small donations of $2000 (the maximum individual donation allowed, I've read) from 500 individuals?

Cheers,
Steve


I suppose he could, but it is against the law, and I can't imagine why he would want to do so?

Steve W
04-05-2007, 08:45 PM
Hi Jamesaritchie,

Yes, I know it's illegal, but that doesn't stop people doing it.


"... there were certain supporters of Senator Edwards, all from one law firm, who contributed all on the same day. And there were statements by some of those people to reporters saying, "Well, I made the contribution but I was reimbursed by my boss." (http://fpc.state.gov - don't have the exact url.)

I'm just trying to discover how corporations/rich people are now going to contribute large sums if they can't do it directly?

Cheers,
Steve

ink wench
04-05-2007, 09:33 PM
Hi Ink Wench (cool name!),

Thanks! :)


Hi Ink Wench,

Just going over your answers again and I note -

Does this mean a multi-millionaire might not be able to donate $1,000,000 to a presidential candidate because of this 'soft money' law, but if he split it between, say, 500 'friends' he could get away with it by turning it into small donations of $2000 (the maximum individual donation allowed, I've read) from 500 individuals?

Cheers,
Steve

Well, like JAR said, he could, but he'd be in trouble if he was caught. I'm sure it happens (we're talking about politics here!).

I haven't had any luck looking for links. My laptop crashed and burned a couple months ago and I lost all my bookmarks, etc. Sorry! You might want to check out political organizations, espcially corporate 'watchdog' groups like corpwatch.org (http://www.thecro.com/pol). Or something like http://www.thecro.com/pol. They might not have any direct info, but could be useful. Also maybe hit up activists' blogs and ask questions? I'd also recommend looking at Granny D's website (http://www.grannyd.com/). She's a campaign finance reform activist from my state who walked across the US when she was 90 to bring awareness to this issue.

Good luck!

Steve W
04-10-2007, 11:44 PM
Hi Ink Wench,

Thanks for the links - I'll have a good browse and see what I can find.

After days of surfing, I've now some other ideas I can pursue, so hopefully I can put this problem to rest. Might even be better than my original, if somewhat murky, thoughts.

Thanks for your help.

Good luck,
Steve