Nearly $500 million continues to sit in a bloated, unused government fund

As Americans rush to file their taxes by this year’s April 18 deadline, a sliver of them — less than 4 percent, if recent history holds — will check a little box that directs $3 to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

But that’s still millions of $3 contributions, year after year. And they’ve caused the Presidential Election Campaign Fund — a once-popular resource for White House aspirants that hasn’t been used regularly in 15 years — to swell past $430 million in value as of February 28, according to U.S. Treasury records reviewed by Raw Story.

With the untapped fund likely to continue growing after Tax Day en route to half a billion dollars, politicians and nonprofits have ideas for how to reform the nation’s obsolete public campaign financing policies and reallocate this resource at a time when, according to the Treasury, the country is facing more than a $1 trillion dollar deficit.

Among them is Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), who told Raw Story the money could be used to help close the nation’s budget gap.

“It’s just sitting there … This is just a small effort on many other efforts that we have in trying to tackle this budget,” Ernst said. “You’ve just got to get out there and raise money if you’re gonna play, so why do we do this?”

Nonprofits could benefit from the money that’s sitting in the fund, said Rick Cohen, chief communications officer and chief operating officer for the National Council of Nonprofits. While the Council is focusing much of its tax policy efforts on getting the universal charitable deduction back after it expired in 2021, the hundreds of millions of dollars in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund could help numerous charities.

“Every dollar can make a big difference for people who rely on nonprofits,” Cohen said. “It may seem like a small amount when it comes to the government’s budget, but 90% of the sector has less than a $1 million budget every year. You could double the budget of 500 nonprofit organizations and still have more to go around.”

Cohen said it would be great to see a tax form checkoff box for donating to charities like Colorado has that allows taxpayers to donate their return to nonprofits.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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