Skip Navigation
Federal Election Commission, United States of America (logo). Link to FEC Home Page
Federal Election Commission
FEC Search

 

HOME / PRESS OFFICE / NEWS

News Releases

 

For Immediate Release    
Contact:
Judith Ingram
May 28, 2009         Julia Queen
    Christian Hilland   
* Revised: August 5, 2009    

                                                                                         

PARTY FINANCIAL ACTIVITY SUMMARIZED FOR THE 2008 ELECTION CYCLE:
PARTY SUPPORT FOR CANDIDATES INCREASES

WASHINGTON – The Democratic and Republican parties raised nearly $1.6 billion and spent more than $1.5 billion between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2008, according to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) compilation of information from reports submitted by federally registered party committees at the national, state and local levels.

Republican national, state and local party committees that report to the FEC raised $792.9 million during 2007-2008 in federally permissible funds, or “hard money.” Democratic party committees raised $763.3 million during the same period.Democratic party receipts for the 2008 election cycle represent a 58% increase over the 2006 cycle and a 10.8% increase over the 2004 presidential election cycle.  Republican party receipts grew 32.4% from 2006, and 1.3% from 2004.The limits on contributions from individuals to national party committees are indexed for inflation. For the 2008 cycle, individuals could contribute as much as $28,500 to a national party committee, while political action committees (PACs) could contribute up to $15,000. No direct contributions from corporations or labor organizations are permitted.

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) prohibited national party committees from raising or spending money outside the limits and prohibitions of federal election law, making the 2002 election cycle the last cycle during which national party committees could raise and spend nonfederal funds or “soft money.”  Despite these restrictions, the parties’ national committee fundraising totals for 2008 overshadowed their 2002 and 2000 campaign cycle totals by $249 million and $149.8 million, respectively.

The following table shows “hard money” fundraising in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 election cycles (following the passage of BCRA) compared with both hard and soft money receipts in previous cycles for the Democratic national committees (the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Republican national committees (the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)) .

National Party Fundraising
(in Millions of Dollars)

Federal Only

 

Federal

Non-Federal

Total

 

Federal

Non-Federal

Total

  2007-2008

  2005-2006

  2003-2004

 

  2001-2002

  2001-2002

  2001-2002

 

  1999-2000

  1999-2000

  1999-2000

 

 

DNC

$260.11

$130.82

$404.35

 

$67.50

$94.56

$162.06

 

$124.00

$136.56

$260.56

DSCC

$162.79

$121.38

$88.66

 

$48.39

$95.05

$143.44

 

$40.49

$63.72

$104.21

DCCC

$176.21

$139.89

$93.24

 

$46.44

$56.45

$102.89

 

$48.39

$56.70

$105.09

Total

$599.11

$392.09

$586.25

 

$408.39

 

$469.86

                       

 

 

RNC

$427.56

$243.01

$392.41

 

$170.10

$113.93

$277.85

 

$212.80

$166.21

$379.01

NRSC

$94.42

$88.81

$78.98

 

$59.16

$66.43

$124.57

 

$51.47

$44.65

$96.12

NRCC

$118.32

$176.3

$185.72

 

$123.62

$69.68

$179.62

 

$97.31

$47.29

$144.60

Total

$640.30

$508.12

$657.11

 

$582.04

 

$619.73

Party spending in direct support of federal candidates increased substantially in 2008. Democratic party committees reported making a total of $156.2 million in independent expenditures, which advocated the election or defeat of specific House, Senate and presidential candidates but were not coordinated with those campaigns.Of this total, the DCCC alone reported independent expenditures of $81.6 million for House candidates, while the DSCC reported $73 million for Senate candidates. The DNC spent more than $1.1 million on independent expenditures in opposition to the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Senator John McCain. In addition, Democratic committees spent $38 million on coordinated expenditures on behalf of general election candidates. Unlike independent expenditures, coordinated expenditures are subject to federal limits.

Republican party committees reported $124.7 million in independent expenditures (with the National Republican Congressional Committee making $31 million in independent expenditures and the National Republican Senatorial Committee spending $39 million on Senate candidates) and $32 million in coordinated expenditures. The Republican National Committee made more than $53.5 million on independent expenditures advocating for the defeat of then-presidential candidate, Barack Obama.  According to election reports, independent expenditures made by both national parties advocated the defeat of identified Senate and House candidates by spending over $108 million and $70 million, respectively.  Fully 99% of all independent expenditures made by national party committees advocated for the defeat of Senate candidates, while 63% were made advocating for the defeat of House candidates.*

According to election reports, the majority of independent expenditures made by both national parties advocated the defeat of identified candidates; the parties spent over $108.3 million on independent expenditures opposing Senate candidates and $70.4 million opposing House candidates.  According to the tables on Party Activity in Senate Campaigns and Party Activity in House Campaigns, 98.8% of all independent expenditures made by national party committees advocated for the defeat of Senate candidates, while 62.5% were made advocating for the defeat of House candidates.

Sources of receipts for national party committees are examined in more detail in tables attached to this release. The tables also provide financial overviews for national and state/local committees of the two major parties. Transfers from national to state parties are listed by state. Direct party involvement in congressional campaigns is tallied for each candidate who received party support in the general election.

Democratic Party Committee Financial Activity Through December 31, 2008 [EXCEL] [PDF]

Republican Party Committee Financial Activity Through December 31, 2008 [EXCEL] [PDF]

Sources of Receipts - DNC and RNC [EXCEL] [PDF]

Sources of Receipts - Senatorial Campaign Committees [EXCEL] [PDF]

Sources of Receipts - Congressional Campaign Committees [EXCEL] [PDF]

National Party Transfers to States [EXCEL] [PDF]

Campaign Transfers to the DSCC and NRSC [EXCEL] [PDF]

Campaign Transfers to the DCCC and NRCC [EXCEL] [PDF]

Party Activity in Senate Campaigns [EXCEL] [PDF]

Party Activity in House Campaigns [EXCEL] [PDF]

Party Activity in Presidential Campaigns [EXCEL] [PDF]

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

# # #

 

 

______________________

* This paragraph corrects the value for Republican independent expenditures in 2008 from $196.6 million, as indicated in the original press release, to $124.7 million. It corrects the figure for NRSC spending on independent expenditures targeting Senate races to $39 million from $110.9 million.
(Revised: July 16, 2009)