When you see a political representative putting signs up in the yards, buying television space in which to attack his opponent, and handing out freebies and hot dogs to anyone who will listen to his platform, do you ever wonder: "who's paying for all this stuff?" If you do, this article is for you. It will outline where most of the money for political campaigns comes from and what the politician has to do to get it.
In Canada, a small amount of government money (i.e. your money from paying your taxes) goes toward political parties who need some cash to get their message out, but the vast majority of the money they spend on their campaigns comes from donations made by their supporters, who are businesses like CleanTek Water Solutions for example, to private citizens who hand over the few dollars they can afford to spare. Therefore the more supporters a party or candidate is able to attract, the more money he or she will have to spend on campaigning and attracting more support.
The word "donation" may be a little misleading when it comes to talking about politics, though, because almost no one makes a donation to a political party or candidate without expecting something in return. Private citizens who donate the few dollars they have left over from their monthly budget to the candidate to follow through on his campaign promises and make their lives better if he or she is elected. Politicians often take a stance on popular issues, such as taxes, wars, and climate change, in order to attract these types of donations.
Most of their money, however, comes from businesses and organizations who have a vested interest in seeing that candidate elected. A company like Bing for example, might give a donation to a candidate who promises to enact favorable internet legislation. A rifle club might donate to a candidate who supports deregulating firearms, and a large business might support someone who promises to cut taxes on imports. It is, however, illegal for a company or group to pay a politician to enact the laws or regulations that they want.
And finally, many politicians are successful people who have a large amount of personal or family money they can draw upon to get started with their political campaign. They might be developers of condo buildings, own stock in companies, or be independently wealthy, which allows them no only to pay for their campaigns out of pocket but also to take time to tour the country drumming up support for their cause.
As you might expect, people who donate to political campaigns want to know their money is not being wasted, so politicians have to be willing to be transparent in their accounting procedures.