We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy
Soft money is also known as non-federal funds and is raised outside the limitations imposed by the FEC regarding the source and size of contributions. Soft money cannot be used to finance federal election campaigns directly but loopholes allow it to be spent in influencing campaigns indirectly.
In 1978 the Federal Election Commission (FEC), attempted to place limits on donations that political candidates in federal elections could receive. These limits, however, only apply to political campaigns (hard money) and not to activities that were considered "party building".
The term "party building" is loosely defined, allowing parties to run a campaign for elections that do not specify a certain candidate. For example, the Republican Party can run an advert "Vote Republican!" but would not be allowed to have paid for adverts that specify their candidate. Similarly, parties may run adverts raising awareness of certain issues such as economic, education or foreign policy etc.