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Campaign finance and the appearance of fraud

People in New York who may either run for public office themselves or who may choose to contribute to the political campaigns of others know that there are many laws governing the financing of political campaigns. As explained by the National Conference of State Legislatures, these laws cover three distinct areas, one of which is the public financing of campaigns. Other laws pertain specifically to the required disclosures associated with contributions that are made. The third type of law governs the caps on contributions.

In addition to attempting to prevent any type of fraud or corruption with a political campaign, campaign finance laws also aim to avoid a transaction or relationship appearing as some attempt at corruption or fraud. This is an important part of the laws because what may look like corruption may not actually be but the line between the two can at times be very thin.

The Federal Election Commission explains that financial limits on the amount of money that may be given to a campaign consider both the contributor and the intended recipient. An individual voter, for example, does not simply have one cap on contributions but different caps on how much they may give based upon who or what entity the donation is made. An individual may give substantially more money to a national party committee than to the committee of a candidate or even to a political action committee.

Contributors are broken out as follows: individuals, party committees, candidate committees and PACs. Party committees include those at all levels from local to national.

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