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Publication Date: March 2006

Publisher(s): Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet

Author(s): Joseph Graf; Grant Reeher; Michael J. Malbin; Costas Panagopoulos


Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation

Topic: Politics (Campaigns, lobbying, and pressure groups)
Politics (Elections and voting)
Politics (Political ethics)

Keywords: campaign contributions; political fundraising; political donors

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


The 2004 campaign was the first presidential campaign waged under the new rules of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. That law dramatically changed the makeup of who gives to political campaigns by eliminating soft money and doubling the amount that individuals can contribute.

That presidential race saw a broadening of the donor base to encompass hundreds of thousands of Americans who had never donated before, and an accompanying increase in the number of people donating money online. Although many donors gave less than $100, their sheer numbers made them an important part of the political fundraising process.

This research from the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet and the Campaign Finance Institute, features more than 1,500 surveys of donors and dozens of interviews. The report offers a first picture of these groups of political donors -- people who contribute small amounts of money to political campaigns, people who donate online and people who donated for the first time in 2004 -- about whom we had previously known very little.