A Look At Campaign Finance

campaign finance
Republican Mitt Romney reported raising $23 million for his presidential campaign during the first three months of the year, shaking up the GOP field, and rivaling the total reported a day earlier by Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

What Are The Key Filing Deadlines?

March 31 is the end of the fundraising quarter for congressional and presidential candidates, along with other political committees. Committees must file their campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission by April 15.

What Is A 527?

527s or PACs represent a variety of positions on a variety of issues, but they all want o seek how they influence how you look at the candidates. Their activities may not instruct you to vote for or against a specific candidate, but often they will try to shape your opinion of a political candidate or party in the context of a specific issue. Such "issue advocacy" won't explicitly tell you to elect or defeat a particular candidate, but the advocacy group's view of the candidate's stance on their issue is clear.

What Is The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act?

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, known as the McCain-Feingold law, was passed in 2002 and bans parties from using "soft money," the previously unregulated and unlimited donations from corporations, unions and others. It also doubles "hard money" limits to $2,000 per election.

What Are The Disclosure Rules?

Current campaign finance law at the federal level requires candidate committees, party committees and PACs to file periodic reports disclosing the money they raise and spend. Federal candidate committees must identify all PACs and party committees that give them contributions, and they must provide the names, occupations, employers and addresses of all individuals who give them more than $200 in an election cycle. Additionally, they must disclose expenditures exceeding $200 per election cycle to any individual or vendor.

To Learn More About Campaign Finance:

• The Campaign Finance Information Center has additional resources, and state-by-state information.

• Click here for a database of all individual and political action group contributions to federal election campaigns.

• To find out who donates in elections, click here.

• For a timeline of campaign finance laws, click here.