Federal Election Commission (FEC): a government agency that monitors, regulates and publicizes information on campaign funds.
While the Presidential candidates face off about economic reboot plans, their campaigns will have spent roughly $2 billion by election day. That's a lot of advertising and front lawn signs. That's a lot of print shops working overtime. Job growth in action!
While the sum alone may seem downright absurd, all that money is ostensibly an investment in the next four years of our nation's health and well-being. That's a solid investment. Fair enough. But where is that money comin' from? How 'bout...
+ Democratic National Committee (DNC)
+ Republican National Committee (RNC)
+ Political Action Committees (PACs — and Super PACs)
+ Individual Donors
Keeping track of Who-Gets-What-And-From-Whom is no small task, but the FEC's job is to map it for us (sometimes literally) through its interactive Disclosure Portal. This way no one's wondering whether a covert army of Martians is boosting a candidate to power. No one will suspect some secret Lex Luther of buying the future President's devotion. That is, of course, assuming the aliens or Supervillians in question aren't backed by a NGO (non-governmental organizations). You see, federal law requires full reports from DNC, RNC, PAC and individual contributions -- but nonprofits don't have to spill all to the FEC. (What, did you expect Washington to keep it simple?)
And yes, despite the big bucks and fat checks under close scrutiny, our own efforts still make a difference. Of monies raised by individual donors, a whopping $402 million (nearly half of all individual donations) comes from relatively small contributions of less than $200 each. That means that as insignificant as our $10 donations might feel, those dollars do indeed add up. And get this: What's the total amount individuals have donated to 2012 presidential campaigns? Over 660 million dollars!
So there you have it. The FEC: yet another acronym to add to your memory bank.
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