Soft money

From Academic Kids

Soft money refers to contributions given, at least nominally, to a political party for "party building" activities rather than for the direct support of particular candidates and campaigns. Prior to the 2002 passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, individuals and corporations could donate unlimited amounts of soft money to political parties.

In practice, soft money has often been used to skirt the legal limits on how much money individuals or organizations are allowed to contribute to political campaigns (termed hard money). While soft money technically could not be used to urge voters to vote for or against a particular candidate, it was in practice used for a variety of activities, from television advertising to getting out the vote. In many cases, these efforts were targeted so as to assist a particular candidate or candidates.

Soft money should not be confused with independent expenditures made by individuals or organizations. Independent expenditures are done without coordination with the candidate and his/her campaign.

With some exceptions, soft money contributions to political parties were generally made illegal in the United States in 2002 with passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. Many of the soft money-funded activities previously undertaken by political parties have been taken over by various 527 groups.

See also

External links


In academia, soft money can refer to funding through individual research grants, rather than a salary via an academic institution.

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