Why I “check the box”

I currently own a tax business, and I’ve done a tax return or two. At this time of year I find myself asking the same question a few times a day and I never go into a long explanation about the whys and wherefores of the question I do have my own opinion. The question is this

“Do you want to contribute $3 to the presidential election campaign fund”

Most people say “no” (many people make comments and politics, or the current crop of candidates, or other things). And that’s fine, it’s a question and everyone has to make their own choice.

I used to check this box because I used to (naively) believe that would make it possible for anyone to run for president regardless of their financial situation. I’m no longer that stupid naive and I know you need some amount of ca$h to run for president.

But what I do like is the fact that, if a candidate receives “checkoff dollars” they are bound by the expenditure limits.  I’d rather they spend “my” money in a monitored way than just spend like crazy.  The following is excerpted from the FEC (Federal Election Commission)

May Any Candidate Receive the Public Funds?

No. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) certifies the eligibility only of those candidates who meet the strict qualifications established by Congress.

  • Checkoff dollars are given only to Presidential candidates who demonstrate broad national support.
  • General election nominees must agree not to accept any private contributions (from individuals or PACs, for example).
  • Candidates must promise not to spend more than $50,000 of their own money on their campaign.
  • Recipients of public funds must adhere to a limit on total spending.

Must Candidates Accept Public Funds?

No. A candidate may choose not to participate in the public funding program. In that case, the candidate is not bound by the expenditure limits.

(Of course I don’t know if any of this makes and sense — because during the writing of this post I’ve found myself asking that question a few more times — I’m so distracted)


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