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According to the U.S. Federal Election Commission's website, as of July 10, 2023 the two candidates for U.S. President who have raised the most money are Lee Mercer (D), at $192 million, and John Anthony Castro, at $20 million. The third and fourth highest-fundraising candidates are Donald Trump (R) and Joe Biden (D), respectively.

I think it's safe to say that there is something "weird" going on here, and the FEC web site is not listing true campaign donations according to the straightforward and commonsense meaning of the term.

What exactly do the numbers reported on the FEC website mean? Are these just personal loans to "paper" campaigns or something? If so, is there any verification mechanism that the candidate actually has that much money?

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    Indeed, candidate contributions to their own campaigns are not subject to any limit. I suppose these are independently wealthy candidates with vanity campaigns.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 11, 2023 at 1:41
  • @Obie2.0 I think there must be more to the story than this. If Lee Mercer were indeed lending himself $192 million for an actual campaign, then he would be in the public awareness, like Michael Bloomberg was in the 2020 election. And aren't you not legally allowed to spend campaign funds for personal reasons? Where are the Lee Mercer campaign ads? Jul 11, 2023 at 12:20
  • Ah, if only we still lived in that innocent world free of the Lee Mercer campaign ads. He promised to bring us an AI for president because Jeb Bush had a disease and was in his house.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 11, 2023 at 23:01
  • Although perhaps he was ahead of his time with that first campaign promise.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 11, 2023 at 23:08

1 Answer 1

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The FEC corrected its prior report from July 10, 2023, and as of October 30, 2023, Castro is now shown has having raised $678.00, and Mercer is now shown as having raised $0.00.

The previous entries were erroneous for some reason, and have been corrected.

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  • Uh, that is a ... large error. Seems to me that that might be getting into "Congressional hearings to determine how the FEC could have possibly messed that one up so badly" territory. Nov 6, 2023 at 22:38
  • @VeryTinyBrain More likely a bad user interface and/or people deliberately trying to enter inaccurate information into the system to screw with it.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 6, 2023 at 22:41
  • No doubt, but the FEC should have checks in place to prevent those misuses. So IMO this is a still a huge screwup on their part. Nov 6, 2023 at 22:43
  • @VeryTinyBrain The FEC is forever in 50-50 partisan deadlock, so bold reforms aren't easy to accomplish.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 6, 2023 at 22:44
  • Fixing a bad user interface definitely does not count as a "bold reform". Nov 6, 2023 at 22:55

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