Children donating to political campaigns

Filed under: Just For Moms, Big Kids, Teens, Just For Dads, Siblings, In The News

Because her mother is politically active in our city, Ellie probably knows more about politics than the average 7-year-old. But if you were to ask her if she would like to empty her piggy bank and donate that money to a candidate, I guarantee the answer would be no. Even if she understood the concept of giving money to help someone get elected, there are many other things she would rather do with her money.

Kids can give money to political campaigns, but federal law dictates that it must be their money and their decision. Based on that stipulation, you would have to assume that 8-year-old Matthew Mardirossian and his 7-year-old sister, Karis, are unusually politically minded for their ages. They contributed $4,600 each to Barack Obama's bid for the White House. Their father says the money came from their trust fund and the decision to donate was made by the trustees on their behalf.

Why would a family donate money to a political campaign in the name of their child? Because, as Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics points out, people "use their family members to circumvent the limits on individual contributions." By law, an individual can donate only up to $2,300 each for primary and general elections.

Should it be even legal for a young child to donate to a political campaign? Senator John McCain thinks not and in 2002 tried to have donations from minors banned through a campaign-finance law rewrite. That provision was struck down by the Supreme Court.

But just because it is legal to accept money from minors, doesn't mean every candidate does. According to spokesman Bill Burton, Barack Obama does not accept contributions from anyone under the age of 16 and the money donated by the Mardirossian children was returned.

I think an older teenager should be allowed to donate money to a political campaign, but a 7 year old? What do you think?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.