Monday, December 24, 2007

Getting Paid To Run For President

Michelle Tsai explains that presidential candidates can get paid to run for the presidency:

Can candidates pay themselves a salary from these funds while campaigning?

Yes, in some cases. According to rules from the Federal Election Commission (PDF), candidates who meet certain criteria can receive a salary from their campaign committees. It won't be a raise from their last job, though, since the amount can't exceed either their earnings from the previous year or the minimum annual salary of the office they seek—whichever is less. (In the case of the presidency, the salary is $400,000.) They're paid on a pro-rata basis, so a candidate who drops out of the race after six months can pay himself only half of this annual salary.
Not all candidates can qualify to be paid to run. The FEC bars incumbent officeholders in the presidency, Senate, and House of Representatives from drawing salaries as candidates in addition to their in-office salaries. Also, a candidate's salary is not considered a qualified expense for candidates receiving public financing.

According to Tsai, among the current front runners only Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney would qualify to be paid a salary as a presidential candidate. They won't do it. Rudy and Mitt don't need the money. No one needs the criticism that would come with drawing a salary to run. Consider how Alan Keyes, was criticized back in 1992 for paying himself more than $8,000 a month out of campaign contributions for his senate race in Maryland. Then there is the criticism of Huckabee's speaking fees. Maybe Huckabee doesn't a salary either.

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