Get the Facts on Campaign Funds and Think about How They Matter to the Election Process and Outcome

By Carolyn S. Daley

In a press release by The Federal Election Commission on June 26, 2007, it was announced that each of the two major political parties’ convention committees will receive initial payments of $16, 356,000 from the U.S. Treasury for planning and conducting their respective 2008 Presidential nominating conventions. The 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee, Inc. will hold its convention in Denver, Colorado, from August 25-28, 2008. The Committee on Arrangements for the 2008 Republican National Convention will host its convention in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota, from September 1-4, 2008.

You can read the entire press release at

Federal election law permits all eligible national committees of major and minor parties to receive public funds to help pay the official costs of their presidential nominating conventions.

Also, from the FEC website on Public Funding of Presidential Elections

Each major political party is entitled to $4 million to finance its national Presidential nominating convention. A qualified minor party may become eligible for partial convention funding based on its Presidential candidate's share of the popular vote in the preceding Presidential election.

A new party candidate receives partial public funding after the election if he/she receives 5 percent or more of the vote. The entitlement is based on the ratio of the new party candidate's popular vote in the current election to the average popular vote of the two major party candidates in the election.

In otherwords, the first year a party has a candidate running it has to receive 5% of the vote without receiving any public funds from the FEC in order to receive funds in the second year.

I saw no mention of funds being allocated to Independent campaigns.

Could this possibly be part of the answer to the question of why Independent candidates haven’t won in previous elections?

Would it be more advantageous to run on a minor party ticket than as an Independent?

Should the rules be changed to allow Independent candidates to receive funds for the general election?