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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Joint Fundraising Committees, Explained

At National Journal, Reid Wilson reports:
Between the beginning of 2011 and August 30, the last date for which publicly-filed records are available, Obama for America has raised $337 million. The Democratic National Committee raised $111 million. The Obama Victory Fund, a joint account that collects big checks and distributes money to other committees, raised $291 million. And the Swing State Victory Fund, another joint account, has raised $3 million (Those are the total receipts reported before distributions from other committees, so we're not double-counting any money).
Over the weekend, the Obama campaign announced it had raised $181 million in the month of September across that Byzantine structure of committees and organizations. All told, Obama's campaign and the committees it controls have raised $923 million. If they raise just half as much in October as they did in September, Obama's campaign will indeed become the first billion-dollar campaign in history.
Given the pace at which Obama is fundraising -- he's in California today, the second part of a two-day Golden State fundraising swing -- a ten-figure campaign is all but guaranteed.
Individuals can give up to $75,800 to a victory fund, aka joint fundraising committee. How does this figure square with contribution limits?  As FEC explains, there is an aggregate limit of contributions to PACs and parties of $70,800. There is a contribution limit of $2,500 to candidates; however, the primary campaign and the general election campaign count separately, so $2500 can go to the Romney (or Obama) primary account and $2500 to the Romney (or Obama) general election account, 

In other words $70,800 + $2500 + $2500 = $75,800. 

And everything goes double for married couples! 

Romney Victory explains it this way:
Contributions to Romney Victory, Inc. (“RV”) are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. RV is a joint fundraising committee composed of Romney for President, Inc. (“RFP”), the Republican National Committee (“RNC”), the official Republican Parties in four states (the Idaho Republican Party, the Massachusetts Republican Party, the Oklahoma Leadership Council, and the Vermont Republican Federal Election Committee), the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Proceeds shall be allocated by the following formula:
Individuals and non-multicandidate PACs - The first $2,500 will go to RFP’s general account. Prior to August 31, 2012, the next $2,500 will go to RFP’s primary account. Beginning on August 31, 2012, should Romney for President have primary debt, that next $2,500 will go to RFP’s primary debt retirement account. The next $30,800 will go to the RNC. The remaining amount will be split evenly among the federal accounts of the Republican Parties of Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Vermont, up to a maximum of $10,000 per committee.
Multicandidate PACs - The first $5,000 will go to RFP’s general account. Prior to August 31, 2012, the next $5,000 will go to RFP’s primary account. Beginning on August 31, 2012, should Romney for President have primary debt, that next $5,000 will go to RFP’s primary debt retirement account. The next $15,000 will go to the RNC. The remaining amount will be split evenly among the federal accounts of the Republican Parties of Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Vermont, up to a maximum of $5,000 per committee.
Notwithstanding this allocation formula, a contributor may designate a contribution for a specific participant or participants. In addition, the allocation formula may change if any contribution would exceed applicable contribution limits. Contributions from corporations, labor unions, federal contractors, and foreign nationals are prohibited. Federal law requires us to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer of each contributor whose contributions aggregate in excess of $200 in a calendar year (RNC and state parties) or election cycle (RFP).
The Obama version:
We are asking for a donation of up to $75,800 from individuals per election to Obama Victory Fund 2012. We are not asking for, and will not accept in connection with this solicitation, donations in any amount from registered federal lobbyists, registered foreign agents, federal political action committees, or minors under the age of 16. Contributions in any amount from corporations, labor organizations, national banks, federal contractors, and foreign nationals are prohibited. To enter by contributing money to Obama Victory Fund 2012, complete and submit the contribution form at https://donate.barackobama.com/dinner-with-barack-ovf or other web page specifically identified by Sponsor during the Promotion Period. No minimum contribution is necessary to enter. Entering via the contribution method described in this paragraph (c) will not increase your chances of winning the prize. The first $5,000 of a contribution to Obama Victory Fund 2012 will be allocated to Obama for America (with the first $2,500 designated for the primary election, and the next $2,500 for the general election). The next $30,800 of a contribution will be allocated to the Democratic National Committee. Any additional amounts from a contributor will be divided among the State Democratic Party Committees as follows, up to $10,000 per committee and subject to the biennial aggregate limits: FL (17%); OH (16%); PA (13%); CO (11%); NC (11%); VA (11%); NV (6%); WI (6%); IA (5%); and NH (4%). A contributor may designate his or her contribution for a particular participant. The allocation formula above may change if following it would result in an excessive contribution. Contributions will be used in connection with a Federal election.