Election Costs and Campaign Contributions

July 16, 1924

Report Outline
Campaign Funds of the Past
Nature of Campaign Expenditures
Corrupt Practices Acts
Platform Declarations on Corrupt Practices
Special Focus

The cost of a national election in the United States is roughly estimated at $30,000,000. About one third of the cost is paid by the states out of revenues raised by taxation. The remainder is paid principally by the dominant parties out of funds made up by campaign contributions.

Large financial burdens formerly imposed upon candidates and parties, including the cost of holding primary elections and printing official ballots, have been taken over by the states, but the parties have nevertheless discovered methods of spending constantly increasing sums in their national campaigns. “The expenditure of these vast sums, said former Senator Kenyon who conducted the investigation of campaign expenditures in 1920, “is a present and growing menace to the nation.”

No accurate figures have been compiled upon the cost of holding elections to the states, but $10,000,000 is a conservative estimate The cost in Hew York state alone is about $1,750,000. This includes the printing of ballots, the renting of polling places and the payment of judges, but does not include the cost of registering the voters and holding primaries.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Nov. 22, 2002  Campaign Finance Showdown
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Oct. 11, 1974  Campaign Spending in Europe and America
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Jun. 05, 1946  Campaign Spending and the Law
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Jul. 01, 1931  Revision of Federal Corrupt Practices Act
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Apr. 06, 1928  Presidential Campaign Funds
Aug. 17, 1926  Excessive Expenditures in Election Campaigns
Aug. 10, 1926  Illegal and Corrupt Practices in Elections
Jul. 16, 1924  Election Costs and Campaign Contributions
Campaign Finance
Campaign Finance