Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidate who rails against the corrupting influence of money in politics, is doing very well in soliciting high dollar campaign donations.
According to data submitted to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Bernie 2016 PAC has raised over $96 million as of the end of January 2016.
Nearly half of those contributions are from people who gave $200 or more, in contrast to Sanders’ ongoing claim of individual $27 donations.
Despite its $96 million haul, the campaign disbursed almost as quickly as it received. According to the FEC, the candidate’s campaign committee spent $80,729,110 in operating expenses and refunded $880,331 in contributions during this reporting period.
As it faced the major primaries of March, Bernie 2016 was working with $14,661,951 cash on hand.
The campaign coffers were impacted on February 11 when the FEC found discrepancies in its 2015 filing that included $23 million in unitemized receipts as well as excessive, prohibited or illegal contributions. Two weeks later, a FEC review of Bernie 2016 for January 2016 found another round of campaign finance problems. Excessive and prohibited campaign contributions were again noted.
FEC reports for the last six weeks are not yet recorded, making it impossible to determine contributions since the start of February.
A bruising series of losses in the March 15 primaries and an unknown level of campaign money hasn’t deterred candidate Bernie Sanders. He announced that his campaign will go on with a new and questionable strategy. Sanders is hoping to achieve success by persuading Hillary Clinton’s pledged delegates to defect. His plan has been called a fantasy and roundly criticized by election experts.
The reality of politics is that donors stop giving to losing campaigns. Sanders will have no choice but to call it quits when the money dries up.