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Small Change: Unitemized Contributions Add Little to Campaign Coffers

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The idea of candidates hitting the campaign trail and raising the money they need for their efforts often conjures up images of people knocking on doors and asking their friends and neighbors for financial support. But the hard reality differs greatly. Most candidates and even more political party and ballot committees rely heavily on large contributions from a relatively small number of contributors to finance their campaigns.

An analysis of contributions in the 2004 and 2005 elections that were small enough to fall under the widely varying dollar threshold each state sets for reporting specific identifying information about contributors.