Five ways 2016 candidates are testing campaign finance rules

  • For an individual running for federal office, the directly applicable campaign finance laws are fairly straightforward: His or her campaign can only collect $2,700 from a donor during the primary season and another $2,700 during the general election.

    But already, the 2016 presidential candidates have employed several novel tactics to get around those limitations. Most of the boundary-pushing is connected to the candidates' connections to super PACs. Super PACs, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations, can raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals, corporations or groups like labor unions. The groups may promote a particular federal candidate, but they are not allowed to coordinate with a candidate or campaign.

    That, however, isn't stopping the 2016 presidential candidates -- those who have already confirmed their candidacy and those still playing coy -- from finding ways to make super PACs work for them.

    "We've seen this coming for a while, and we've known the FEC's concept of independence and coordination are very different from the average person's," Larry Noble, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center and former general counsel for the FEC, told CBS News. That said, Noble added he's surprised at "how quickly the presidential candidates have been willing to rip through the rules that were left."

    Here's a look at some of the ways this election's crop of White House hopefuls are pushing the boundaries of campaign finance laws.