Chris Christie and Rick Perry may have stalled in the US presidential race but they could struggle on to the first primary votes, thanks to the mega-donors keeping their campaigns afloat. But in American politics a few generous donors can keep a sputtering campaign alive, even when the political winds fail to fill a candidate’s sails. “This is the bring-your-own-billionaire election,” Chris Gates, president of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan, pro-transparency group that is tracking 2016 campaign finance, told AFP on Monday. “It does allow them to hang on,” he said of the largesse. “It extends the shelf life of candidates who may not be creating any buzz or fire in the electorate.”
Individuals are limited to contributing $2,700 directly to any candidate in federal elections.
But with campaign finance laws loosened in recent years, Americans are unbridled when it comes to contributing to “super PACs,” independent political action committees that can raise unlimited funds but can not coordinate with a candidate’s campaign.