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Wednesday, April 28, 2004
A Point of Clarification
By Steven Taylor @ 8:38 pm

In regards to my earlier post about Gore’s $6 million, I would note that I was being somewhat flippant when I said “no wonder he lost.” However, I was not being wholly facetious, as I do find it curious as to why he would have money, let alone that much, let over from the 2000 campaign. Given some of the comments on the post, let me explain why I think it is odd.

1) There are two distinct periods of campaign financing for a presidential race: the primary season and the general election campaign (call them Rabbit Season and Duck Season).

2) In Rabbit season the candidates collect all the money to run their campaign for the party nomination is a manner not unlike a run for House or Senate, with one important difference. That difference is that if they agree to a spending cap (both an overall limit, and limits that are state-specific for each primary or caucus) the Feds will provide matching funds for every contribution up to $500 from individuals. Prior to 2002 and BCRA, the overall limit on individual contributions was $1000, after BCRA it was $2000. PACs can donate up to $5k.

The cap in Rabbit Season 2000 was roughly $40.5 million (plus there is some room for admin costs).

Normally, candidates exhaust this fighting off challengers (as Dole did in 1996) and the presumptive nominee is left with very little towards the end of Rabbit Season.

Now, in 2000, George W. Bush chose not to adhere to the cap, so received no matching funds and therefore could raise and spend to his heart’s content. Gore, however, stuck with the caps. In 2004, Bush, Dean and Kerry all eschewed the caps and matching funds.

3) In Duck season the major party candidates are given a grant of $67.56 million and are not allowed to raise any other money for their campaigns (although in the past they could fundraise for their party’s in this period) or spend anything other than the public monies.

So, given all of this, it strikes me as mildly curious that Gore had $6 million in the bank. It is possible that the money was left over from Rabbit Season, but that begs the question as to why he didn’t spent it then. And if the money is left over from Duck Season, it is especially odd, as it really does mean that he left $6 million in the bank that could have been spent in Florida that might have actually helped him win. The odds are that the money was from the primaries, however.

I don’t think that any of it would have been coming in as donations after the election-especially not in that amount. And the Dean example that someone mentioned doesn’t hold-Dean is still operating under Rabbit Season rules, and is trying to pay off debt, hence the continued fund raising receipts.

If anyone can further enlightenment on this topic, let me know.

Filed under: US Politics | |Send TrackBack

1 Comment

  1. You can get the donation reports and see who gave when. That could help you. I’m sure they are on the web.

    I’m within an inch of caring enough to look it up but alas, it’s been a horrific day that makes that inch too long.

    Comment by Paul — Thursday, April 29, 2004 @ 3:39 pm

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