Campaign funding: how does it work?

In France, it is strictly regulated by law, and the National Commission of Campaign Accounts is the first body to ensure their regularity.

In France, the financing of electoral campaigns is strictly regulated by law, and the National Commission of Campaign Accounts (CNCCFP) is the first body to ensure their regularity. It is she who invalidated the accounts of the campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidential election of 2012, according to the revelations of L’Express.fr, Friday, December 21.

Campaign Accounts.

Each presidential candidate must keep the accounts of his campaign, which retrace very precisely the origin of the sums collected and the nature of the expenses incurred. These accounts must be deposited with the CNCCFP after the second round.

Capped expenditure.

Revenues are not capped, unlike expenditures, which are limited to an amount determined by decree. For the 2012 presidential elections, they should not exceed 16.8 million in the first round and 22.5 million in the second round.

Public funding.

Part of these expenses is reimbursed by the State, which is also responsible for the enveloping and delivery of election materials. The two candidates qualified for the second round of the presidential election are entitled to a refund of 47.5% of the increased ceiling (this year is € 10.7 million).

Those who have received more than 5% of the votes are entitled to a reimbursement of 47.5% of authorized expenses (ie this year 8 million euros). Applicants who have not passed the 5% mark may benefit from a reimbursement limited to 4.5% of the authorized ceiling (ie 800,426 euros).

This reimbursement is made only if the campaign accounts are validated: if they are ultimately rejected by the Constitutional Council, the campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy will not be refunded. In this case, the candidate will also have to return to the State the advance of an amount of 153 000 euros which was attributed to him at the beginning, like to all those appearing on the list of the candidates.

Private financing.

Candidates can start collecting donations a little more than a year before the first round, on April 22, 2012. They can receive money from their party or donations from individuals: corporate donations have been banned since 1995 The payment of cash donations is limited to 150 euros per donor, and in other forms (checks, transfers, bank card) to 4,600 euros for a single natural person, for the entire election.