In the US, citizens are only allowed to donate $2500 per election to a single candidate. You can of course donate as much as you want to a Super PAC, but this money would not be directly available to the candidate. However billionaires like Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer have spent tens of millions of dollars to jumpstart their own campaigns, far beyond the ordinary $2700 limit. This is currently legal in the US.

How common is the lack of restrictions on self financing in other democracies?

  • To take my country, Norway... Here political advertising on television is actually prohibited (it's allowed in cinema) - and besides, the "main" TV-channel is state-run and advertise free. Finally, it's the political parties more than particular candidates that campaign. Parties also receives tax-payer money from the Government to keep them running. All in all, this makes huge amounts of money both less needed and less effective. Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 3:14
  • Related:politics.stackexchange.com/a/39318/23571 (campaign financing system in France)
    – Erwan
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 8:59

2 Answers 2


Before you frame this question, you should be aware that individual candidates are less important and parties are more important to campaign finance in most other countries. In the US, the various contenders for their party's nomination first fight each other for a year, and then the winner has to build a coherent campaign for the general election out of the battlefield survivors. Elsewhere the first round is more internal to the party and thus cheaper.

In Germany, a candidate could donate to his or her own campaign, but that donation would fall under the usual campaign finance laws, which are mostly reporting requirements. Trying to spend on the campaign without donating it to the party would get the candidate and party into trouble for failing to report it.

  • 1
    So could Beate Heister start a party and pump 10 billion euros into it? Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 6:43
  • @JonathanReezSupportsMonica, I think so, but that party's Rechenschaftsbericht would have to list those ten billion. If that's the only entry, voters are free to wonder. Also, her party would have to collect some voter's signatures to get onto ballots since they didn't get enough votes (not any, that is) the last time around.
    – o.m.
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 6:50

In my country India, the law on elections (Representation of Peoples Act, 1951) mandates a cap on the spending in the election campaigns. Thus legally a candidate cannot spend more than INR 70lakhs ( nearly 0.1m USD) for elections to the popularly elected lower house ( known as Lok Sabha)of the national legislature. Similarly expenditure limits have been mandated by the statute for elections to state legislative assemblies. Election Commission of India which is a constitutional body and has been given wide powers under the Constitution to ensure free and fair elections has even taken stern action in case of manipulation of election expenses accounts. The law provides for the punishment in case of submission of fudged election accounts. Cases of paid news are also considered under the same incorrect statement of election expenses as the law does not explicitly cover paid news. Narottam Mishra, part of BJP govt. in state of Madhya Pradesh was disqualified for not including expenses in paid news in his electoral accounts. In cases where there has been a rampant use of money power, the Election Commission has even countermanded elections in some cases.

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