Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

What would happen to Biden’s campaign cash if he drops out? That’s up to Kamala Harris

By 37ci3 Jul2,2024

If President Joe Biden decides to step aside for the 2024 race, Vice President Kamala Harris will be in line to receive the tens of millions of dollars in her campaign war chest for the first time.

Biden has given no indication that he will end his bid for re-election after a stumbling debate performance last week. But this is a debatable scenario during a busy call Sunday among campaign aides and donors.

Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, said on the call that if the president drops out — which he has stressed he doesn’t intend to do — Harris will then control most of the money in his campaign account, which has so far totaled $91.2 million. May 31.

That seems about right, some campaign finance experts say, but it’s unlikely if he becomes the Democratic presidential nominee.

“It has its own twist in that Harris is still part of the campaign and was considered part of the campaign from the beginning,” said Kenneth Gross, Akin Gump’s senior political counsel and former general counsel. Federal Election Commission.

Harris is named in FEC filings for both Bidens statement of candidacy and his campaign account organization statementmeaning he will likely be able to use the funds if he continues to campaign. Campaign finance law it is also noted that the campaign committee appointed by the presidential candidate can be used by the party’s vice-presidential candidate.

“Both candidates are on the scoreboard,” Gross said. “And I think he could use the money if he runs for president. He would be the only one who could do it.”

The Campaign Law Center’s campaign finance team also determined that Harris could access the money in the account if he succeeds Biden as the party’s presidential nominee.

But they noted in an email that Harris could only access those funds if he was at the top of the ticket. In other words, if he remained the vice-presidential candidate and the party chose another presidential candidate, it would be a different campaign.

Gross said he wasn’t sure if Harris would be able to access the funds if he remained the party’s vice presidential nominee without Biden.

“This is such a unique scenario, I think the campaign will want to seek the FEC’s opinion on this question,” he said.

Claire Rajan, a former FEC litigator who heads Allen & Overy’s political law group, also agreed that Harris could raise funds as the party’s presidential candidate, but doubted he could do so as a candidate for a different standard bearer.

Had Harris not run under that scenario, the Campaign Law Center’s campaign finance team noted that Biden’s campaign money could have been diverted to a political action committee. But a PAC can only make a small donation of $3,300 per election to another candidate. The Biden campaign may also return contributions from donors, who in turn may donate to the new candidate.

Rajan and Gross also noted that if Biden were to step aside, the funds could be transferred to a charity or super PAC that would not be associated with the campaign. Funds can also be transferred to a national party.

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By 37ci3

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