WASHINGTON – Dozens of political donors are reaching beyond the grave to support candidates and parties, setting up their estates to continue giving campaign money long after their deaths, a study released Friday found.
Presidential and congressional candidates and political parties have collected just over $1.3 million from at least 100 deceased donors since 1991, according to the Halloween-themed "From Coffins to Coffers" report by the Center for Public Integrity in Washington.
Political parties are the biggest recipients. National Democratic Party committees have received at least $644,000, while Republican Party committees have taken in roughly $588,000, the nonpartisan watchdog group's review of campaign finance reports found.
In the last election, posthumous donations totaled at least $72,851. That compares to roughly $679,000 in the 2002 election cycle, the last time donors could give unlimited sums to national party committees.
Many recipients identified the donors' occupation as "deceased" on reports to the Federal Election Commission, or said the contributions came from an estate.
Deceased contributors face the same donation limits as the living: $2,100 per election to a federal candidate and $26,700 a year to a national party committee.