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In federal elections in the US or in similar governments, is it possible for candidates to feed and house themselves and their families from campaign donations? Or do they need to live off of personal savings or generate income on the side while campaigning?

Potential compact forms of question:

  • Can poor people afford to run for president or congress?
  • Can the candidate be a paid employee of a federal campaign?
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From https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/making-disbursements/personal-use/

The candidate may receive a salary from his or her campaign committee only under the following conditions:

  • The salary must be paid by the principal campaign committee;
  • The salary must not exceed the lesser of the minimum annual salary for the federal office sought or what the candidate received as earned income in the previous year;
  • Individuals who elect to receive a salary from their campaign committees must provide income tax records and additional proof of earnings from relevant years upon request from the Commission;
  • Payments of salary from the committee must be made on a pro-rata basis (a candidate may not receive a whole year’s salary if he or she is not a candidate for an entire twelve-month period);
  • Incumbent federal officeholders may not receive a salary payment from campaign funds; and
  • The first payment of salary shall be made no sooner than the filing deadline for access to the primary election ballot in the state in which the candidate is running for office.

Salary payments may continue until the date when the candidate is no longer considered a candidate for office or until the date of the general election or general election runoff. For special elections, payments may continue from the date that the special election is set until the date of the special election.

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