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For Immediate Release
December 18, 2002
Contact: Bob Biersack
Ron Harris
Ian Stirton
Kelly Huff
WASHINGTON – The Republican and Democratic parties reported raising a total of $1.1 billion in hard and soft dollars* from January 1, 2001 through November 25, 2002. Post-election reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) include the final soft money receipts for national parties, which are barred by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) from raising or spending new soft money after November 5, 2002.

Receipt totals were nearly equal to the party fundraising totals in the 2000 election cycle, which included a competitive presidential campaign. Receipts were 72% higher than in 1997-98, the most recent non-presidential cycle.

Federally allowable funds (hard money) declined from 2000 levels, as they have consistently in non-presidential cycles. When compared with 1998, however, Democratic Party hard money receipts were up 43% and Republican hard money receipts were 47% higher than their 1998 totals.

Soft money receipts reached the highest levels ever in 2002, even without a presidential campaign. Totals for Democratic committees were nearly triple their 1998 values (up 168%), while Republican soft money totals nearly doubled (up 90%) when compared with 1998.

The following table provides an overview of hard and soft money receipts for the parties during comparable periods since 1992.

Overall Party Receipts Reported to the FEC Through 20 Days After the General Election














Non Federal





















Non Federal














Grand Total







millions of dollars


Note: The table includes hard money raised by state and local party committees, but does not include soft money raised by those groups, some of which is not reported to the FEC.

Party expenditures followed a similar pattern, with Republican committees spending $392 million in hard money and $258 million in soft money through late November. Democratic committees spent $209 million in hard money and $250 million in soft money during the same period.

Following the pattern of past cycles, much national party soft money was transferred to states, most often to states with competitive races for Senate or House seats. National committees also transferred funds to states with competitive gubernatorial elections.

Charts accompanying this release provide comparable data for the past five election cycles, listing hard and soft money totals and transfers to state and local parties. This release and the data contained in it are also available on the FEC’s web page at under News Releases or Campaign Finance Reports and Data.

*Hard money refers to funds raised under the contribution limitations and prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act. Corporations and Labor organizations, for example, are prohibited from making hard money contributions and contributions from other sources are limited. Soft money refers to funds raised outside these limitations and prohibitions.


The following tables are in Excel format and can be opened using Microsoft Excel available from Microsoft.