General Question

livejamie's avatar

Why does Barack Obama limit financial contributions to 16 year olds, when the other canidates limit it to 18 year olds?

Asked by livejamie (111points) February 3rd, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

6 Answers

segdeha's avatar

Can you cite a source for this? I wouldn’t think he’d have the ability to change election laws. This sounds like FUD to me.

jrpowell's avatar

Actually, this question got me to look into it.

From Obama’s website:
2. I am at least 16 years old.

From Clinton’s website:
5. I am at least 18 years of age.

I wonder if it was a typo on Obama’s part? Note that it looks like both use the same software package for their donations page.

chris's avatar

According to a CNN article from ‘99, there is no limit on donor age, but the funds must be “owned or controlled exclusively” by the donor:

I don’t know why it is unreasonable for a 16 year old to want to be involved in the political process, and I don’t see why they should be prevented from contributing. Many 16 year olds certainly own and control their own funds.

The danger, of course (as pointed out in the article) is in parents bypassing contribution limits by donating in the name of their small children. As long as Obama is careful about these kinds of situations, it seems like a good idea to me.

segdeha's avatar

On the face of it, 18 makes sense because that’s the voting age. But, it is possible to influence the political process whether you vote or not, and at 16 (and younger!) you do have a vested interest in the policies of your government. So, I don’t see a problem with it as long as he’s careful like chris said.

livejamie's avatar

@johnpowell; Hehe that’s why I’m asking. :)

artemisdivine's avatar

i would say (and NO basis to back this up) is that Obama is VERY hot on web technology and gaining the youth vote. so it would make sense for him to target the youngest age possible. oh the tricks these “politicians” pull…

Elrick Williams’s toddler niece Carlyn may be one of the youngest contributors to this year’s presidential campaign. The 2-year-old gave $2,300 to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

So did her sister and brother, Imara, 13, and Ishmael, 9, and her cousins Chan and Alexis, both 13. Altogether, according to newly released campaign finance reports, the extended family of Williams, a wealthy Chicago financier, handed over nearly a dozen checks in March for the maximum allowed under federal law to Obama.

Asked about the Williams family giving, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, “As a policy, we don’t take donations from anyone under the age of 15.” After being asked by The Post about the matter, he said the children’s donations will be returned.

the Federal Election Commission wrote new regulations two years ago that tried to balance what it considered a legitimate desire among some children to make political contributions against the possibility that parents would seek to pad their donations by funneling money through children.

The regulations established a three-step test to determine whether a contribution is acceptable: It must be made with the child’s money, the parent cannot reimburse the child for making the donation and the contribution has to be knowing and voluntary.

That last part of the test is the one that would seem to rule out a 2-year-old, said Michael E. Toner, a former FEC chairman who helped draft the rules. “If they are 16 or 17, they’re clearly old enough to know what they’re doing, as compared to someone who is, say, 10 years old. . . . I don’t know any 2-year-old who is capable of making that kind of decision.”

And the computer geeks (well past 16)

Bill Gates has only made one presidential-candidate campaign donation this season [$2300], and it was to Barack Obama. Meanwhile, although Steve Jobs’ wife Laurene has given nice sums to each of the three leading Democratic candidates, Barack appears to be the apple of her eye, if you calculate that in terms of dollars. Steve himself is not in the registry. What’s more, neither billionaire tech household donated a (traceable) penny to any of the Republicans currently running for office.

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