Report: Florida leads nation in campaign contributions to state party committees
A new report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics finds that Florida is No. 1 in the country for the amount of money that state party committees receive in campaign donations. More than $100 million in campaign contributions flooded the coffers of the Democratic and Republican Party committees during the 2009-2010 election cycle.
California earned the No. 2 spot; parties in that state raised a total of $66.4 million during the same cycle. According to the Institute report released this week, Florida’s Democratic and Republican state party committees raised $116,734,170.
The Republican state party committee in Florida out-raised Democrats by bringing in a total of $67,236,671, winning the party majority control of both the state House and Senate that year. The state Democratic Party raised $49,497,496 for the 2010 election, the Institute reports.
Compared to the 2005-2006 election cycle, the state saw a total 24 percent increase in campaign contributions for state party committees.
Florida’s campaign fundraising activity bucked national trends, as well. According to the group, the 100 state parties nationwide “raised 2 percent less than they did in the comparable 2005–06 elections.”
There are several possible factors that have contributed to the popularity of donating to state party committees in Florida. As explained by a previous report from the Institute, Florida state party committees do no have the same caps on donations as donations to candidates have. State contribution limits currently cap donations at $500 per candidate per election. The Democratic or Republican party, however, can receive unlimited amounts.
It is also sometimes impossible to tell which candidate is receiving money from which corporation within the system. Parties do not always disclose (nor do they have to) to whom they are specifically dispersing their funds.
Nationwide, a total of $449,176,520 was raised by the 100 party committees during the 2009-2010 election cycle.
The Institute writes in the report that state party committees ”relied heavily on contributions from companies, associations, and organizations, which accounted for 40 percent of the $449.2 million raised by political parties.” Individual donors, however, only accounted for 17 percent of the funds raised.
This past year, private prison companies — which are big donors to the Republican Party of Florida — incited controversy when Republican leadership in the Florida Senate tried to “rush” a prison privatization plan. The kerfuffle in the state Legislature raised questions concerning the power corporations in the state have over the parties and individuals that receive unlimited contributions from them.