Political Education

Can an Average Person Run for Congress with No Money?

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Can an average person run for Congress with no money? Yes, but it isn’t easy.

In 2002 the FEC, Federal Election committee, passed a rule that allows candidates to pay themselves a salary from campaign funds if they are not the incumbent. Candidates can pay themselves either their previous year’s tax returns or the salary of the position they are running for, whichever is less. Most candidates do not take this option, wanting to use all of the campaign funds for campaigning against their opponent. During the 2017-2018 election cycle, 22 candidates paid themselves with campaign funds, according to the Center of Public Integrity.

Some candidates can keep their day jobs and run for Congress. Laura Lombard of Kansas’s 4th Congressional district is an example of that. You can hire your relatives to work for your campaign, but your constituents may not like that. Be careful what you use campaign funds for. A candidate can buy clothing with their slogan on it but cannot buy a whole new wardrobe. You c have childcare paid for by the campaign if you did not pay for it before. And lastly, volunteers can bridge the gap.

While it is difficult to run for office without a big bank account, it isn’t impossible. It takes a lot of hard work, determination, and sacrifice. We should support new and blue-collar candidates when we have the chance. Voter support is the only way for Congres to be the old lawyers club no longer and mirror the American people’s diversity.

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