Campaign Financing

Topics: Barack Obama, John McCain, Federal Election Campaign Act Pages: 6 (1774 words) Published: March 21, 2013
Ronald Romero
American Government
Elizabeth McNamara

Campaign Financing: 2008 Election; Barack Obama vs. John McCain

Campaign finance refers to all of the money raised and spent to promote a candidate or party for an upcoming political election. This money is a necessity for a candidate to have en edge in any election because the more funds they have the more they can do with it. What they can do with the money raised is another question. There are rules and regulations the candidates must follow. In the 2008 election between Barack Obama and John McCain, both candidates took different routes in their campaign finance. Obama took a private route and John McCain took the public route (ProPublica).

The public financing system was established in 1976, and this entitles the candidate to 84 million of tax payer money for their campaign. Taking this route prevents him from being able to take private donations and the Federal Election Commission will audit his spending (ProPublica). Obama took the public route and all the money he raises he must check so that all of the donations meet with the Federal Election Commission's finance laws. These rules are defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act and this limits how much an individual can give to the candidate per election cycles, which is $2,300 directly to the candidate. Individuals can also give money to political action committees whom also can give $2,300 directly to a candidate and $28,500 to a national committee. Also political action committees can also spend an unlimited amount of money on "independent" advertisements but cannot use the materials that are used for the campaign (ProPublica). Last another difference between the two routes is that there are 527 committees who report to the Internal Revenue Service instead of the Federal Election Commission (ProPublica).

In the 2008 election Barack Obama raised about 745 million dollars and spent about 730 million. John McCain raised about 368 million dollars and spent about 333 million dollars. This money was raised through individual contributions, through political action committees, candidate self financing, federal funds, and other sources (Center for Responsive Politics). Barack Obama got about $656,357,572 from individual contribution was about 88% of his total fundraiser. He received $1,830 from political action committees which was about 0%. He did not fund himself nor did he receive federal funding. Obama did receive $88,626,223 from "other" contributions (Center for Responsive Politics). John McCain received about $199,275,171, 54% of his total fundraising, from individual contributions and $1,497,949 from political action committees, was about 0%. Since John McCain took the public route he got federal funds which was $84,103,800, which is about 23% of his total fundraising. The last 23% of his campaign finances come from other contribution which amounted to $83, 306,833.

These numbers are impressive to see and each candidate got great support. The top ten donors for Barack Obama will be shown in a table provided by the Center for Responsive Politics at The table shows the candidate being supported, the individual contributor, their employment, when they contributed and how much in that order. |Obama, Barack |Budinger, William |Not employed |7/31/08 |$30,800 | | |Aspen,CO 81611 | | | | |Obama, Barack |BOSLER, JAMES |NOT EMPLOYED/RETIRED |8/28/08 |$28,500 | | |FORT WORTH,TX 76126 | | | | |Obama, Barack |HIGDON, JOE |NOT EMPLOYED/RETIRED |8/28/08 |$28,500 | |...

Cited: Center for Responsive Politics, . (2008): n.pag. Open Secrets. Web. 13 Nov 2012. .
ProPublica, . (2008): n. page. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. .
Televised Broadcast of the 2012 Election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney (2012)
Schmidt, S. W., II Shelley, and B. A. Bardes, . American government and politics today. 2012-2013. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
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