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US Campaign Finance

orangemayhem
Posts: 333
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6/7/2014 5:53:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'm going to come completely clean here: I've created this forum as a plea for help. On Monday I'm sitting the first of two exams on US Politics for my A-Levels (high school leaving exam). I need to get the top grade in order to get into Oxford (my first choice).

The only thing I'm still struggling to get my head around is campaign finance so I'm appealing to anyone who knows about US politics to help me out. In simple terms, can someone explain to me the difference between 'soft money' and 'hard money'? This is the one area of the syllabus which I hate and it's unlikely to come up in my exam... but I want to have all bases covered!

Thanks (fingers crossed) in advance...!
I'm back (ish).
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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6/7/2014 10:19:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Hard money is money given directly to a candidate for him to spend on his campaign. Soft money is money spent by people who advocate for the candidate, but how the money is spent is not controlled by the candidate. coordinating with the candidate is forbidden. There are laws limiting how much money can be given directly to a candidate, but laws attempting to limit soft money have been overthrown by the Supreme Court as a violation of the right to free speech.

Separately, there is a distinction between advocating for a candidate and advocating for an issue. For example, advocating for or against gun control might align with candidates positions on issues, but so long as a candidate's name is not mentioned then free speech rights prevail. Donors for advocating on issues can generally remain anonymous, while donors to candidates must generally be disclosed.