Campaign Finance

Campaign Finance comes through many different avenues, from single-person donations to contributions from big and small corporations and political special interest groups. These days it’s impossible to run for any position without money for travel, ads, and “get-out-the-vote” campaigns. The only way someone without the financial clout of Ross Perot can go toe-to-toe with the “big boys” is by joining one of the two main parties: the Democrats and the Republicans. Without the reach, both financially and politically, of these two parties, the odds are squarely against you. True, the occasional “independent” might win a seat on Congress, but how many independents do you know that won a seat who weren’t former members of one of the parties?
So, the first step in financing a campaign is joining a party—unless, of course, you’re Ross Perot. But even he ended up getting squashed in the end through other, more political, methods.
Campaign finance is categorized in two ways: “hard money” and “soft money”. Hard money is “donations made directly to political candidates.” (Wikipedia: “Campaign Finance in the United States”, paragraph 2) These direct donations come from organizations, individuals, and (you guessed it) the political parties. “Soft” money is money that isn’t received or spent by the candidate’s campaign but spent by individuals/organizations for political advertisements (often made by the said individual/organization) for a favored candidate’s position or attacks on his opponents. More or less, “hard” money is donated to a campaign for the candidate to spend while “soft” money isn’t donated, just spent. There’s a fine line between the two that has more to do with semantics than the action, itself. While there’s a limit on how much “hard” money can be sent to a candidate, there is no limit on how much “soft” money his political allies can volunteer to spend on his behalf.&nbsp.