Federal Politics

Published — October 28, 2005 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

From coffins to coffers

Dozens of donors listed as ‘deceased’ have contributed $1.3 million to candidates for Congress, the White House and political parties

Introduction

Most people have heard tales of the dead casting ballots in Chicago or Philadelphia, but there’s another form of posthumous political participation that has grown into a nationwide trend: donating money from beyond the grave.

A study by the Center for Public Integrity has found that there are at least 100 of the dearly departed still giving funds to political parties and to candidates for Congress and the presidency. Members of this underground political movement have contributed more than $1.3 million to federal candidates and political parties in the past 14 years. Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., former President Bill Clinton and Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., have been among their beneficiaries, the study found.

As spooky—or as fishy—as that might sound, it’s done through a perfectly legal practice that doesn’t require seances or Ouija boards. People are setting aside money for future contribution via their wills.

The deceased, often known to vote Democratic in Chicago, have donated more overall to Democrats as well. National Democratic Party committees received almost $630,000; Republican Party committees received $588,000; and liberal National Committee for an Effective Congress received nearly $35,000.

The Center study found that in the 2000 election cycle, such contributors donated $245,000 overall. Two years later, a groundswell of activity in the deceased demographic raised that total to nearly $680,000.

Scores of these dead donors appear in public records with their employment listed as “deceased” on contribution reports; in other cases, the politicians reported receiving money from the person’s estate.

FEC spokesman George Smaragdis said people can set up “testamentary bequests” to support political parties and specific candidates after they have passed away. “If that is their wish while they are alive, money can be set aside for federal political action committees,” Smaragdis said, noting that because of new laws, estates, like living individuals, recently have been limited to donations of $5,000 to a PAC per calendar year. Federal law bans donations by non-citizens, foreign governments and corporations. But contributions are welcome from all U.S. citizens … dead or alive.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

thomas alessi
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thomas alessi

I am for Trump

Martin Shellabarger
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J. Stevenson, what are you drinking? Trump has more lobbyists in his administration than probably any other president. Trump is totally “for sale”, and the corporations know it. Grow a brain!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.