The decision allows Biden to raise money at the levels of the campaign for Trump, who has enjoyed a fundraising advantage as the incumbent president who can coordinate directly with the party and state parties.
The Biden Victory Fund agreement is the latest example of the dramatically expanding fundraising power of national party committees, made possible through pivotal legal changes in 2014 that loosened restrictions on individual contributions.
While a person can give a maximum of $5,600 to Biden’s campaign committee, the new agreement allows one donor to legally give more than 110 times that amount in support of Biden’s election.
That maximum contribution cap increases with each state party that signs on to the agreement. The number of state parties supported through the Biden Victory Fund could expand, officials said.
Both major political parties have taken advantage of this maneuver. Hillary Clinton was the first presidential candidate to establish a joint fundraising committee when she was a front-runner in the 2016 Democratic primaries, collecting up to $356,100 per year per donor for her White House bid with the Democratic National Committee and 32 state parties. Trump and the Republican National Committee then set up their own joint effort, Trump Victory, asking donors for as much as $449,400 in 2016.
Trump Victory raises money for 24 state parties, the campaign and the RNC, federal filings show. The committee is the big-money vehicle for the Trump campaign, providing the president’s wealthiest donors special access to him, often over intimate settings in which they can air personal grievances or tout their pet issues.
Trump also has a second joint fundraising committee, Trump Make America Great Again, which raises money for the RNC and the Trump campaign. The committee is mainly used for Trump’s online fundraising efforts but still accepts larger checks.
Trump has raised and spent more money than his predecessors, and has enjoyed a significant advantage thanks to the donations raised through Trump Victory. Under the new agreement, Biden is poised to dramatically increase his fundraising capability to compete with Trump.
“Our goal is to elect Vice President Biden and Democrats across the country, and these state party partnerships will allow us to do just that,” Greg Schultz, senior adviser and general election strategist for the Biden campaign, said in a statement. “We’ve seen the momentum build across the country and will continue to build out the organization that will defeat Trump and deliver the White House to Vice President Biden in November.”
Both campaigns are now limited to virtual fundraising, under coronavirus distancing restrictions. Trump narrowly outraised Biden last month but maintains a significant cash advantage, according to figures released by the campaigns.
The Biden Victory Fund was created last month, in an effort to speed money into the Biden operation. The initial agreement had allowed donors to give $360,600 each.
Many of the 26 parties signed on to the Biden Victory Fund are key states for the presidential race and states that have contentious Senate races, including Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona and North Carolina.
“For over three years, the Michigan Democratic Party has been building an infrastructure to defeat Donald Trump and elect Democrats up and down the ticket, in every corner of our state,” Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said in a statement. “Now, as we head into the final months of this election, we are proud to be ramping up that effort in this partnership with the DNC and the Biden campaign.”