The race for the United States Presidency has entered its last stage as US President Donald Trump and Presidential Candidate Joe Biden battle it out for the seat in the Oval Office.
However, one of the most critical aspects of these presidential campaigns that people overlook is the money. Without the vast amount of money, Trump and Biden, let alone all the other candidates, would fail to fuel their campaigns.
It is no surprise that politics and money go hand in hand as the Democratic and the Republican parties have raised more than a billion-dollar in funding for their campaign, and the bar on spending is yet to stop.
Money is vital to any election as it helps in advertising on television, radio, newspapers, and social media, which in turn helps get more voters for the parties aside from the general bus rallies and campaigns.
Fundraising in the US election has skyrocketed because independent expenditure-only committees could take unlimited individual and corporate donations as long as the money was not explicitly donated to a candidate.
These contributions are massive and have prompted opponents to charge that the rich now have a disproportionate edge in determining US elections because they could throw endless cash at their favourite party or candidate.
A presidential candidate if they wanted to access government funds will have to show broad-based support by raising more than $5,000 in matchable contributions in each of the 20 different states in order to participate in the primary matching fund program. Candidates must plan to use tax money for campaign expenditures only, and must comply with contribution limits.
Major party candidates are eligible for a general election grant. Per the presidential election year, the $20 million grant is adjusted for inflation. By 2008, that amount had increased to 84.1 million dollars. In 2020, there will be a $103.7 million general election grant.
Once the FEC determines that the eligibility requirements have been met by a candidate, it certifies the amount of public funds to which the candidate is entitled.
The US Treasury then uses funds from the $3 tax checkoff - which is a donation taxpayer can make to the US Presidential election - to make payments to the eligible candidates.
Each nominee for the presidency is expected to register with the Federal Election Commission ( FEC) and to provide monthly financial reports outlining their fundraising and expenditure on campaigns.
President Trump has raised $476 million, and presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden raised $540 million for a $1.01 billion net total.
In contrast to that, Hilary Clinton raised an inflation-adjusted $614 million to Trump's $368 million over the entire 2016 campaign cycle, for a combined total of $982 million.
However, the US election always sees a record-breaking bill every four years when it comes to spending.
Notably, in 2012, President Barack Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney, and a total of $6.2 billion was spent. And, $6.5 billion was spent for both the presidential and congressional races in the 2016 US elections.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics, the US Election 2020 has already seen $7.2 billion in spending and is expected to go beyond $10 billion.