News Releases, Media Advisories

For Immediate Release:                                                                              Contact:  Ian Stirton
April 9, 1999                                                                                                                      Ron Harris
                                                                                                                                              Sharon Snyder
                                                                                                                                              Kelly Huff



WASHINGTON – Republicans continued to raise and spend substantially more money than Democrats in the 1997-98 election cycle, according to figures released today by the Federal Election Commission.

From January 1, 1997, through December 31, 1998, national, state and local Republican party committees reported federal (hard dollar) receipts of $285 million and disbursements of $275.9 million. This is a 17% increase in fundraising and a 19% increase in spending when compared to the same period in the last mid-term election of 1993-94. Democratic committees raised $160 million and spent $155.3 million during 1997-98, an increase of 20% in receipts and 18% in disbursements when compared to 1993-94.

Individuals continued to account for most of the party committees’ receipts. Republicans received $240.8 million, 84%, of their receipts from individuals, while Democrats received $111.5 million, 70%, from individuals. Republicans for the first time surpassed Democrats in PAC receipts, receiving $21.4 million in PAC contributions, up $16.7 million from 1993-94. Democrats received $18.9 million from PACs, up $6.1 million over 1993-94.

Regarding federal candidate support, Republican committees contributed $2.6 million directly to candidates and spent $15.7 million in coordinated expenditures* on behalf of candidates. Democratic committees contributed $1.2 million in direct contributions and reported $18.6 million in coordinated expenditures. Coordinated expenditures by both parties declined overall in this cycle, and there were also significant shifts in this spending away from House and Senate Campaign Committees toward state parties and, for Democrats, the Democratic National Committee. Democrats also reported $1.5 million in independent expenditures while Republicans reported only $263,646.

The following chart provides a comparison of political party activity during the last 11 election cycles:

















































Coord. Exp












Indep Exp








































Coord. Exp












Indep Exp



(federal dollars only, in millions)


Republicans ended the election cycle with cash-on-hand of $9 million and debts of $8.7 million. Democrats ended with $6 million cash-on-hand and debts of $15.1 million.

Both major parties continue to raise large amounts of nonfederal or "soft money." Republican "soft money" accounts raised $131.6 million, a 151% increase over 1993-94, while Democrats collected $92.8 million, an 89% increase. This money, raised outside the limitations and prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act, is prohibited from being used in connection with federal elections. It may, however, be used to pay a portion of the overhead expenses of party organizations, as well as other shared expenses that benefit both federal and non-federal elections. It is also used for issue advocacy, as well as generic party advertising. Some of it may be transferred from national committees to state and local party committees. It also supports construction and maintenance of party headquarters.

For the 1997-98 election cycle, Democrats disbursed $93 million from their

non-federal accounts. Of this amount, $34.8 million was transferred to state party committees, $3.8 million was contributed to state and local candidates, while $43.2 million was spent on joint federal/non-federal expenses and $18.2 million was used for other expenses. Republican disbursements totaled $127.7 million during the cycle, of which $34.3 million was transferred to state parties, $11.1 million was contributed to state and local candidates, $49.3 million was spent on joint federal/non-federal activity, and $41 million was for other expenses.

Attached to this release are various charts, graphs and tables describing overall political party financial activities during the 1997-98 election cycle:

Statistical details of 1997-98 political party activity;

Democratic Party Federal Activity

Republican Party Federal Activity

Details of contributions and coordinated expenditures by candidate status, i.e., incumbent, challenger and open-seat;

Party Contributions to Candidates

Party Coordinated Expenditures

Party Independent Expenditures

Comparable summary statistics for six election cycles;

Summary information on 1997-98 non-federal activity and comparable figures for four election cycles;

Democratic Party Non-federal Activity

Republican Party Non-federal Activity

Non-federal Activity comparisons for four election cycles

Transfers from the national committees’ federal and non-federal accounts to each state;

National Committee Transfers to States

Congressional Campaign Committee Transfers to States

Party contributions, coordinated expenditures, and independent expenditures for each 1998 general election candidate.


House (by state)

The FEC’s Final Report on 1997-98 financial activity of political party committees will be published later this year.

This release and the data contained in it are also available on the FEC’s webpage at (look under Financial Information for Candidates, Parties, and PACs). This release is also available under News Releases and Media Advisories.



* Coordinated expenditures are monies spent by national and state party committees on general election nominees and are in addition to contributions. Under federal election law, these expenditures, like contributions, are limited in amount. Party committees may work with candidates’ campaigns to determine how the monies should be spent, but the campaigns do not receive the funds directly.