News Releases, Media Advisories

For Immediate Release:                                  Contact:  Ian Stirton
March 19, 1998                                                    Ron Harris
                                                                  Sharon Snyder
                                                                  Kelly Huff

MAJOR PARTIES REPORT RECORD AMOUNTS IN 'SOFT MONEY' CONTRIBUTIONS

WASHINGTON-Republican party committees continued to outraise and outspend Democratic party committees for the first 12 months of the 1997-98 election cycle, according to figures compiled by the Federal Election Commission. In addition, both parties reported a substantial increase in non-federal, or "soft money" activity, when compared to the same period in previous cycles.

Disclosure reports covering financial activity from January 1 through December 31 show that the federal accounts of Republican party committees at the national level raised $108.8 million, spent $99.7 million, and had cash-on-hand of $10.8 million. Democratic national party committees' federal accounts reported raising $64.5 million and spending $62.8 million, with cash-on-hand of nearly $4.4 million. Both parties reported substantial debt when compared to previous election cycles. Debts totaled $13.3 million for Republicans and $17.3 million for Democrats.

Although non-federal, or "soft money," receipts increased, Republican federal receipts declined $18.6 million or 15% when compared to the same period in 1995, while Democratic receipts declined $4.2 million or 6%. However, when compared to 1993, the last non-presidential cycle, Republican federal receipts increased 14% while Democratic receipts increased 26%.

Reports show that both national parties continue to rely primarily on individuals as the source of their receipts. Republicans received $99.3 million, or 91%, of their total receipts from individuals while Democrats received $48.8 million, or 76% from individuals. Democrats, however, received more PAC contributions -- $7.0 million, which amounted to 11% of their total receipts, while Republicans received $4.2 million, or 4% of their total receipts.

Both parties continued to raise record amounts of soft money when compared to previous cycles. Republican soft money accounts raised $40.2 million, a 22% increase over 1995, while Democratic nonfederal accounts collected $33.9 million, a 19% increase over 1995. Republicans spent $37.7 million from their soft money accounts while Democrats spent $31.4 million.

Charts attached to this release provide summary data for the financial activities of the Republican and Democratic national party committees during the first 12 months of the 1997-98 election cycle compared to the same period in four previous election cycles. Comparable data on non-federal party activity are available only to the 1991-92 cycle. The FEC began requiring national party committees to disclose their non-federal accounts in January 1991.

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*'Soft money' describes funds raised outside the limitations and prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act. Soft money must be deposited in separate non-federal accounts and cannot be used in connection with federal elections. To enhance public disclosure, the FEC requires national political party committees to report the sources of receipts to all non-federal accounts.