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Clarification to This Article
This article said that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's gubernatorial campaign has raised more than $600,000 since his reelection in November, including some funds from companies forbidden to give at the federal level. Spokesmen for Richardson's presidential campaign said yesterday that the funds were used to help pay for his inauguration on Jan. 1 and that he stopped soliciting donations prior to formally filing his presidential candidacy papers on Jan. 22. The last corporate contribution listed on Richardson's gubernatorial report was dated Jan. 12. His campaign did not respond to a request for comment last week

Loophole Lets Candidates Skirt Donation Limit

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By John Solomon and Sarah Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, July 23, 2007

Real estate executive Jack Rosen has given Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton $8,800 since last November, nearly double the amount individuals can donate to any single presidential candidate this election.

He is able to do so because of a loophole in political fundraising laws -- one that is allowing several presidential candidates to simultaneously collect donations for their presidential bid and other political entities connected to them.

One contender, Democrat Bill Richardson, has even collected corporate contributions, forbidden at the federal level, by using his New Mexico gubernatorial campaign account, which faces no such prohibition.

In all, 2008 presidential candidates have already raised more than $2 million outside of their official presidential campaigns since the Nov. 7 election, using congressional or state campaign committees, political action committees or IRS Section 527 political groups to do so, a Washington Post computer analysis found.

None of the money raised for that second committee or group can be spent in pursuit of the presidency, but a former elections official says the extra dollars nonetheless benefit presidential candidates.

Kent Cooper, the Federal Election Commission's former chief of public disclosure who now runs a Web site that studies political money, said presidential candidates may want to collect money simultaneously for one of their political groups so they can spend that money sowing goodwill in key primary states. Often, they will give donations to state or local candidates who can help organize local supporters in the presidential race, he said.

As for donors, the extra contributions give them a chance to stand out in a crowd of supporters.

"I've been a longtime supporter of the Clintons, and when they asked me to help again, I responded," Rosen said. He gave $4,200 in late November toward Clinton's Democratic Senate campaign in New York and then turned around in January and gave the maximum $4,600 to her presidential race.

"It is a new phenomenon. I don't remember ever seeing so many candidates raising money for so many different committees," said Ellen Miller, who has studied political donations for three decades and runs a Web site examining the connections between political money and government action.

"These additional donations are investments by individuals who could seek a favor from the candidate. There are now numerous pockets for political contributors to put their cash into," she said.

Clinton quietly filed papers with the Federal Election Commission over the Thanksgiving holiday that declared her to be a candidate for Senate reelection in 2012, even as she runs for president. That allowed her to raise money for both campaign accounts.

Scores of donors took advantage late last year and early this year, allowing Clinton to collect a quarter-million dollars from people who gave to both her 2012 Senate and 2008 presidential committees, the Post analysis found.

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