Lifezette: Elizabeth Warren Uses Legal Loophole to Raise Big Cash
As she was gearing up for her re-election campaign — and a potential presidential bid — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in January quietly set up a joint fundraising committee that allows wealthy donors to write five- and six-figure checks.
As a candidate, Warren can raise a maximum of $5,400 from any individual contributor — $2.700 in the primary and $2,700 for the general election. By combining her campaign fund with the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee and her political action committee, PAC for a Level Playing Field, the Elizabeth Warren Action Fund can raise cash in much larger increments.
Brendan Fischer, director of federal and FEC reform at the Campaign Legal Center, said 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took advantage of the same perfectly legal mechanism to merge her campaign committee with the Democratic National Committee and several state party committees to form a fundraising juggernaut. A single donor could dump $350,000 into the Hillary Victory Fund.
In theory, Fischer said, such an arrangement allows a better-known candidate to help party organizations and less-known candidates raise money from a marquee name headlining joint fundraising events."What happened in most cases is, the money was transferred back to the DNC, and the money was used to help Clinton," he said.
In the case of the Elizabeth Warren Action Fund, campaign finance records show that almost all of the money raised in the first half the year — more than $1 million — went back into Warren's campaign.