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Gavel To Gavel: AllPolitics' Campaign Fund-Raising Special Report
Looking For Loopholes? Let Me Show The Way
By Brooks Jackson/CNN
WASHINGTON (Oct. 7) -- So you want to be a Washington player? Get next to the powerful? Lobby for a tax break, or a nice ambassador's job? If you've got money, I can help.
First you need to get around that law they enacted back in '74, after the Watergate scandal, the one limiting what you can give and the access you can buy.
But that's no problem! Think of me as your guide through the loopholes.
Legally, you can give only $1,000 to a candidate for president, Senate or House. But your spouse can give, too. And both of you can give in both elections -- primary and general. And if they're old enough, your kids can give too.
See how easy?
But to run with the big dogs you need to give real money. For that you don't give to the candidate. You write your check to the party.
To the national political parties, you can give $20,000 each year in what's called "hard money," funds that can be spent directly on a presidential or congressional campaign. Spouses can, too.
Now we're getting serious.
The party can spend all that money buying TV ads for your candidate, almost like giving directly. One qualification: The party can't promise all your money will go for your candidate. Promising would be illegal. But candidates are grateful, and that's all you need.
Forty grand is the maximum a couple can give to the party's hard money account, but want to give more? Easy! Just give to the party's soft money account. A hundred grand is nice. It's outside those federal limits, but it still can benefit your candidate -- indirectly.
Soft money also