Online fundraising platforms of Democratic and Republican Parties played a vital role in raising a significant amount of campaign funds in this year’s US presidential elections – considered the costliest in history – amid the coronavirus pandemic, Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) executive director Sheila Krumholz has said.
She was interacting with journalists participating in the first-ever Virtual Reporting Tour (VRT) of the US and the American electoral process.
The US Department of State, in collaboration with Meridian International Centre, has organised the eight-week programme for more than 225 journalists including those from the Middle East to cover the upcoming US elections remotely.
“We fully anticipated that the economic hardship that many are going through would have a depressive effect on donations. However, I think one counteractive tool is Act Blue, which is the Democrats online fundraising tool. It’s really just a website for transacting donations. On the right they have a similar platform, Win Red,” Krumholz said.
At the recently-held VTR press briefing on “Following the Money in 2020”, Krumholz talked about campaign finance, Political Action Committees (PACs), dark money, and the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, among others.
She said that Act Blue has been around longer and raised more money than Win Red.
“So these platforms allow for small donations from massive numbers of people. That is, I think, both a new trend and interesting, and also, I think, a largely healthy thing to get more Americans participating, to have more money coming from larger numbers of people in smaller amounts,” Krumholz noted.
“But that, of course, doesn’t mean that the mega-donors are giving any less. We’ve already seen millions and millions of dollars largely going to these Super PACs and outside groups, which is making up, as I said, more than a billion dollars already this cycle,” she said, noting that this US Presidential election will be the costliest in history.
A recent CRP report showed that the total cost of the 2020 election is set to break previous records with nearly $11bn in spending – “more than 50% pricier than the 2016 contest when adjusting for inflation.”
According to CPR, this year’s election would still be the most expensive ever even if federal committees (which already spent $7.2bn so far) did not spend another dollar from this point on.
Founded 37 years ago by two former senators, Frank Church (Democrat of Idaho) and Hugh Scott (Republican), CRP is an independent nonprofit that tracks and researches money in US politics and its effect on elections and public policy.
“So doing this work allows us to see, for instance, that the last election cycle cost more than $5.7bn, the biggest jump in midterm election spending in at least 20 years,” Krumholz said.
The CRP official pointed out that “this rapid increase in money flowing into US politics is partly due to the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision Citizens United versus Federal Election Commission in 2010, which allowed organisations that are nominally independent from the candidates to raise and spend unlimited sums from any source.”
Last updated: October 05 2020 11:38 PM