How to run for Congress if you're broke

NBC News

Most members of Congress are rich. But many find that troubling. If candidates by and large need to be wealthy to run, is that good for democracy?


The basic rule of spending: "Using campaign funds for personal use is prohibited."

So what is considered "personal use?" Basically, don't use campaign funds for expenses that would have existed even if you weren't running for Congress. Think mortgage, rent, utility bills — even if you're running your campaign operation from your living room.

"It's important to emphasize the reason for these limitations: If a candidate is using contributions just to subsidize their lifestyle, that money poses a serious risk for corruption," said Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. "It's a necessary check on that influence."

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