Have you received an email or text message from a politician promising that your contribution will be matched 2x, 10x or have a 1,500 percent impact? If you’ve contributed to a candidate recently, you’re likely on donor lists that result in a constant bombardment of email and text message solicitations featuring some variation of these claims. The match scam is so ubiquitous and tiresome that at least one presidential candidate is hoping to win support by promising “no fake matches.”
With millions of match solicitations hitting inboxes daily, have you ever wondered who’s matching your contribution? In virtually every case, nobody is. It’s a scam.
...It’s not uncommon for legitimate charities to have a wealthy benefactor who will make a large gift, and the organization will leverage it to encourage matching support from smaller donors. People who give money to charitable causes are generally familiar with this fundraising approach, and when done properly, it is perfectly legitimate.
But in the context of political fundraising, there’s virtually never an actual donor agreeing to “match” contributions. In fact, those matches would in most cases break the law. Federal (and usually state) law imposes individual contribution limits that would prohibit donors from making the kind of large contributions needed for this sort of matching. For example, the Federal Election Commission limits donor contributions to $3,300 per election ($6,600 for the primary and general election combined). Using simple math, an email promising to have a 1,500 percent match on a single $500 contribution would automatically exceed the federal campaign contribution limits. Additionally, 38 states impose statutory contribution limits on individual donors, some of which are significantly lower than the federal campaign limits.