Bulletin
Investor Alert

Capitol Report Archives | Email alerts

April 21, 2020, 3:52 p.m. EDT

Bernie Sanders still has $16.2 million in campaign cash — here’s what he can do with the money

Senate independent from Vermont was the last politician to exit the race for the Democratic nomination

new
Watchlist Relevance
LEARN MORE

Want to see how this story relates to your watchlist?

Just add items to create a watchlist now:

or Cancel Already have a watchlist? Log In

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch


berniesanders.com
Bernie Sanders tells supporters in an April 8 webcast that he’s ending his presidential bid.

Sen. Bernie Sanders this month became the last politician to drop out of the battle for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the last man standing.

Every exit has triggered a big financial question: What to do with any money remaining from the failed campaign?

Politicians with leftover campaign funds are barred from using the money for personal expenses, but beyond that they have a lot of options.

They can refund money to donors or make contributions to political allies, including other candidates, party groups and political-action committees, as MarketWatch noted after the 2018 midterm elections. They also can spend the residual cash on winding down their campaign operations or donate it to charity.

Related: These are the basics of campaign finance in 2020 — in two handy charts

And see: Not one S&P 500 CEO is donating to Bernie Sanders

In addition, it’s possible to spend leftover money on a different run for federal office, according to the Federal Election Commission . Former Sen. Evan Bayh did exactly that, for example. The Indiana Democrat’s unsuccessful 2016 Senate campaign made use of a $10 million war chest that he had amassed in the prior decade.

In a disclosure filed Monday , the Sanders campaign reported having $16.2 million in cash on hand as of March 31. It also reported raising $33 million in March to bring its total haul in this election cycle to $201 million.

The Sanders campaign didn’t respond immediately on Tuesday to a request for comment about plans for any remaining funds. The Vermont senator dropped out of the White House race on April 8.

Related: Some Democratic presidential hopefuls were angling for the vice president slot — a gambit that rarely pays off

While former office seekers are barred from using their leftover campaign money for personal expenses, they don’t necessarily face consequences if they do cross that line. A Tampa Bay Times investigation found ex-lawmakers have used remaining funds to buy football season tickets or to pay family members for years, all without being formally investigated by the FEC.

There have been efforts to get rid of the leftovers more quickly, so to speak. Democratic Rep. Mark Takano of California has backed a Let It Go Act . His bill would require officeholders and candidates to disburse their campaign funds within six years after their runs for office or the end of their terms in office.

This is an updated version of a report first published on July 10, 2019.

Victor Reklaitis is MarketWatch's Money & Politics reporter and is based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter @VicRek.

This Story has 0 Comments
Be the first to comment
More News In
Economy & Politics

Story Conversation

Commenting FAQs »
Link to MarketWatch's Slice.