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For Immediate Release
February 16, 2006
Contact: Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
Kelly Huff
George Smaragdis




Washington – Democratic party committees reported significant increases in fundraising during 2005, while receipts of their Republican counterparts declined slightly overall when compared with 2003, according to a compilation released today by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).  Federal fundraising by parties has often been stable or even declined slightly in cycles without a Presidential campaign. While Democrats closed the relative gap in fundraising with their Republican counterparts, Republican party committees still raised nearly $77 million more than Democrats in 2005. 

Overall, Democratic committees at the federal, state, and local levels reported raising $172.4 million in federally permissible “hard” money during 2005, nearly 41% more than the $122.4 they raised in 2003. Each of the three national Democratic committees (Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)) reported substantial fundraising gains, and total federal fundraising by state and local Democratic committees also increased.

The strongest growth came from the DSCC whose $43.6 million in 2005 receipts represented a 91% increase over 2003 levels.  This total was also about $8 million more than the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised, the first time any Democratic national committee has exceeded the fundraising of its Republican counterpart in a non-election year since the FEC began providing summaries in 1985.

Republican committees raised $248.6 million in federal funds in 2005, down 4% from the $259.5 million these committees raised in 2003.  While being surpassed by the DSCC, the NRSC was the only national Republican committee to show a fundraising increase in 2005, up 34% from 2003 to $35.5 million. The Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), and state and local Republican committees reported lower fundraising totals than in the last non-election year.

All of the national committees have raised significantly more in hard money in 2005 than was raised in 2001, the last year in which national parties were permitted to also raise so-called soft money (i.e. funds raised outside the contribution limits and prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act).  Since passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), national parties have been prohibited from raising or spending soft money.

The following table summarizes financial activity for all national parties in non-election years since 1999.





Soft Receipts

Hard Receipts

Soft Receipts

Hard Receipts

Hard Receipts

Hard Receipts















(millions of dollars)

*State party fundraising is not included in this table.

Tables on the following pages provide details of financial activity in off years since 1991.

Individuals are by far the largest source of federal funds for party committees.  Republican committees have reported receiving $222.3 million from individuals (89% of their receipts) while Democrats received $130.6 million (76% of their total).  PACs and other committees contributed $17.5 million to Republican parties and $17 million to Democratic party committees. 

BCRA changed contribution limits, increasing the limit for individuals giving to national parties to $25,000 adjusted for inflation (which has become $26,700 in 2005). Another table below breaks down those contributions by size in recent non-election years.  The table shows that all national committees except the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee continue to receive more dollars from donations in small amounts (i.e. less than $200 each) than from contributions in any other category including more than $20,000 each, the largest category since the passage of BCRA.  (Note that information in this table for the DSCC and NRSC cover only through November of 2005.  These committees do not file reports electronically with the FEC so detailed information about contributions in December is not yet available.)


Democratic Party Committee Financial Activity in Non-Election Years [Excel] [PDF]

Republican Party Committee Financial Activity in Non-Election Years [Excel] [PDF]

National Party Contributions from Individuals by Size [Excel] [PDF]