Presentation on theme: "Chapter 10.3 Paying for Election Campaigns. Running for Office A campaign for a major office takes a lot of money. A campaign organization runs each campaign."— Presentation transcript:
Running for Office A campaign for a major office takes a lot of money. A campaign organization runs each campaign. Campaign workers acquaint voters with the candidate’s name, face and positions on issues. They try to convince voters to like and trust the candidates.
continued Candidates and campaign workers canvass neighborhoods asking for votes, handing out literature and conducting public opinion polls. Famous people may endorse or publicly support a candidate. If voters like the endorser, they may decide to vote for the candidate. Endorsements are a kind of propaganda, or attempt to promote a particular person or idea.
continued Much campaign money is spent on political advertising. Ads help create the candidates’ image, present their views and attack their opponents. Local candidates often use newspaper ads, while national candidates use more TV ads.
continued Campaign funds pay for TV ads, airfares, worker salaries and professional campaign consultants. They also pay for computers, phones, postage and printing costs. Local races may cost only a few thousand dollars. Congressional races average about $1.5 million. A presidential race can cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Financing a Campaign In the past, the public wondered if successful candidates would owe special favors to the individuals, businesses and labor unions that contributed to their campaigns. The Federal Election Campaign Finance Act of 1971 set some rules.
continued The Campaign Finance Act required public disclosure of each candidate’s spending and tried to limit the amount an individual or group could donate. It also created public funding of presidential elections. Taxpayers can contribute $3 to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund by checking a box on their tax form.
continued Candidates qualify for a share of these funds if they raise $100,000 on their own. The two major-party candidates receive an equal share as long as they agree not to accept any other direct donations. 3 rd party candidates qualify if their party received more than 5% of the popular vote in the previous presidential election.
continued Most campaign funding comes from private sources – individuals, party organizations and corporations, plus a wide variety of interest groups. After presidential candidates receive their federal funds and the modest amounts that individuals and groups give them directly, their fund-raising is supposed to be finished. However, candidates have found ways around the limits.
continued One way is soft money – donations given to political parties and not designated for a particular candidate. By law, parties can raise an unlimited amount of soft money, but they must use it for general expenses.
continued The parties, however, have found ways to use soft money to support their candidates without giving them money directly. Most of it goes to national TV ads. Soft money provides a way for wealthy people and groups to donate as much as they want.
continued Another way around the limits is political action committees (PACs). These are political organizations established by corporations, labor unions and other special-interest groups designed to support candidates by contributing money. PACs support candidates who favor their position on issues by contributing to their parties.
continued In a democracy, gov’t should represent all the people, even those without money or power. Critics of the current system argue that wealthy donors may receive special favors not available to average citizens. In 1976, the Supreme Court ruled that it was the violation of free speech to limit how much candidates could spend on their own campaigns. As a result, wealthy candidates spend huge amounts of their own money to get elected.
continued Congress continues to debate plans to reform campaign finance. Because PACs give most of their soft money to incumbents – people currently in office – many lawmakers hesitate to change the rules in ways that could help their opponents.