U.S. election to cost $6.6bn

U.S. election to cost $6.6bn
October 31 18:30 2016

The total cost of the 2016 U.S. presidential election could reach 6.6 billion U.S. dollars, about 300 billion dollars higher than the last election, the Centre for Responsive Politics has said.

The Centre’s Executive Director, Ms Sheila Krumholz disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Washington, D.C. on the sidelines of the 2016 U.S. General Elections Embed programme.

The programme is being administered by the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) and sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Press Centres and U.S. Embassy Posts.

Krumholz explained that candidates in national races could spend as much as they wanted as the law permitted unlimited spending.

“In this cycle, we estimate that 6.6 billion dollars will be spent on federal elections in the United States and that is a bump up from the 6.3 billion dollars spent in the last cycle.

“And frankly, were it not for Trump’s reliance on his celebrity, which makes him get news coverage without paying, it would have been far more than that.

“Candidates in national races can spend as much as they want; unlimited spending is allowed in U.S. elections,” she said.

Krumholz added that apart from unlimited spending by candidates, individuals and Political Action Committees could spend unlimited amounts for candidates.

“There are absolutely unlimited in how much individuals and Political Action Committees (PACs) can spend for a candidate and political parties.

“Also, outside groups, that is, independent expenditure committees, super-PACs and non-profits that spend to support or oppose candidates can raise and spend unlimited sums from unlimited sources.

“This is as long as they do so independently of the candidate,” she said.

She, however, said that there were limitation on how much individual supporters and political action committees could donate directly to candidates.

According to her, the restraint against direct donations to candidates was to protect and prevent the candidates from corrupt influence by the donors if they win elections.

“Campaign donations (to candidates) are limited for individuals at 5,400 dollars in a typical election cycle; this is 2,700 for the primary and 2,700 dollars for the general election.

“Political Action Committees can give 10,000 dollars in a normal circle to a candidate and parties can also make coordinated expenditures for their candidates,” she said.

NAN reports that the U.S. presidential election of 2016, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, would be the 58th four-year period U.S. presidential election.

There are six presidential candidates including Republican Donald Trump, Democratic Hillary Clinton, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein.

The winner of the election would become the 45th President and 48th Vice President of the U.S., who would be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017.

Daily Trust/ NAN