Almost 10 Percent of Legislator Campaign Funds Coming From Candidate Pockets

Here is one more look back at 2008 spending on campaigns for the Tennessee General Assembly, compliments of Drew Rawlins, executive director of the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, and his computer. (As the old saying goes, the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior.)
Prior post on big spenders and those who won while spending less than their opponents is HERE. A post on a separate report dealing with PAC spending in legislative races is just below this post (or HERE.)
An overview 2008 legislative campaign figures:
Total contributions to legislative candidates: $14,644,520
Interest received on candidate accounts: $74,468
Loans made by candidates to their campaigns: $1,360,645

TOTAL RECEIPTS of all campaigns: $16,066,635
Campaign spending total $14,016,795
Repayment of loans from campaign accounts $631,719

TOTAL EXPENDITURES: $14,648,515
Total ending balances $4,065,580
The figures are derrived from the 2008 legislative candidate spending report, found HERE.
It’s noteworthy that close to 10 percent of the money going into campaigns came from the candidates themselves and that they collectively were only able to repay about half the money loaned to their campaigns. (Losers have a difficult time raising money to repay their self-financing; Winners have a lot more success.)
Based on general observation, it seems that self-financing has been on the increase for Tennessee campaigns in recent years, though I don’t have figures from past years to back up that put.
The 2008 report on PAC spending shows that a total of $6,039,523 in PAC money was donated to legislative campaigns, or about 41 percent of total contributions. That $6 million includes the various “leadership PACs” and the PACs affiliated with political parties.
Again without past figures to back up the proposition, it’s my impression that the importance of special interest PACs to individual legislative candidates has been on the decline. The special interest PACs, however, do give a lot of money to the leadership and partisan PACs.
Leadership PACs, in particular, have been on the upswing in recent years – even since 2008. One suspects that donations to important people’s PACs is viewed as good, targeted spending and perhaps more cost-effective than giving to a host of individual legislators.

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