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Donors pay for campaigns. Here's how to find out who they are

A viewer wrote into our Verify team asking "Who pays for political campaigns?"

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Election day is March 21st. Our Verify team is answering your questions around all things elections! 

Amy P. wrote into our Verify email asking about campaign finances. You can also send us your questions or claims you want verified to verify@firstcoastnews.com.

QUESTION: “Who pays when Governor DeSantis and other politicians are campaigning?”

ANSWER: Donors, people like you and other organizations. 

SOURCES: Open Secrets and Duval Elections website

We know that donors pay for political campaigns, but who are the donors? You can easily find out. 

Because Jacksonville's city elections on ongoing, let's dive deeper into it. 

To look at the current campaign contributions for Jacksonville’s city elections, you go to duvalelections.com. Click on current elections. 

Scroll down and click on Candidate Campaign Reports. Click on the second bullet point from the top: Financial Report Search. You can begin a search on this page, but I find it simpler by searching candidate’s/committee’s finance section.

There you’ll see all of the current city candidates and the amount of money they’ve raised. 

Where is the money coming from? Let’s click on LeAnna Cumber who currently has raised the most money for the mayoral race. 

Scroll down and click on a date range. Taking a look at March, you can see who has donated and how much.

For races like governor, go to OpenSecrets.org. Click on candidates and officeholders and you can search by office. 

Let’s go to Governors. Type in Desantis and click on his name.

You can see his top contributors under the Summary tab. If you click on the tab “Contributors”, can see where his donations come from. 

He had a total of more than $134 million in donations. The largest donation was $63 million, but the name of the donor is unavailable. 

Right behind that is more than $14 million from the Republican Governors Association. 

You can easily see most campaign contributions, however some campaign contributions do not have to be reported meaning you won’t get to see who donated the money. 

That’s because there are nonprofit organizations that make political donations. Open Secrets explains if an organization is listed as a 501c, then they have the ability to collect donations without disclosing donors.

Learn more about that here.

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