After the incident of the Watergate, the United States congress agreed to enact a law called Federal Election Campaign Act which stipulated that presidential primary elections and presidential general elections would be funded by the public . Public funding means that presidential candidates receive campaign funds from the Federal Reserve to pay for their campaign expenses including the primary and general election campaigns. These funds are also extended to political parties to fund their national nomination conventions.
Successful candidates must abide by a set of regulations in order to receive these payments from the Federal Reserve. Such regulations include indicating the limit of campaign expenditure to a stipulated amount. Others regulations require the presidential candidates to disclose a detailed report of campaign funds contributions as well as expenditure. Once the candidates meet all the eligibility requirements for public financing, the federal election commission then verifies the amount entitled to each of the presidential candidates and the various party’s convention committees.
These funds come from the presidential election campaign fund are accompanied by a check off of $3 as income tax. This paper therefore gives a background of the campaign financing laws in order to determine how the recent presidential elections in the United States performed against these laws . Primary matching funds These funds are only available for candidates seeking presidential party nominations. However, the candidate must exhibit a broad range of public support by raising over $5,000 in at least 20 states.
The Federal Reserve then matches up to $250 of the candidate’s contribution. The candidates must ensure that their primary campaign expenditure is limited to $10 million including all the cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), limit state by state spending by ensuring that $200,000 limit is maintained depending on the state’s voting age statistics, and finally limit the use of personal finances to $50,000 . General Election Funding Only successful party presidential nominees become eligible for these funds which totals to $20 million for general election campaigns.
Eligible candidates must limit their campaign spending to a specified amount of the fund. They are prohibited from obtaining private contributions for the election campaigns. Private contributions are only allowed exclusively to cater for excess incurred as a result of legal expenditure and expenses emanating from campaign finance law compliance. Personal fund spending is limited to $50,000 and does not therefore go against the spending limit .