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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: elections

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May 3, 2012 at 6:30 AM

How (not) to embezzle campaign cash and flee the country

Greetings from Hawaii

Oh, the places I'll go... with leftover campaign contributions. (Illustration by Daniel Ecklor)

‘Tis the season to be in politics. Washington state politicians are ramping up their campaigns, donors are responding with hefty checks, and campaign bank accounts are beginning their steep, upward climbs.

I can’t help but wonder, what happens to those heaping piles of cash when candidates drop out of their races? If they don’t make it to the general election, do candidates have to give money back to their loyal supporters, or can they keep it? Can they donate it to charity or to their children’s college funds?

More importantly, could I run for state office, scrounge together a couple grand in campaign funds and then drop out of the race just in time to take that post-graduation trip to Hawaii that I’ve been planning in my mind for the last six months?

The prospect of spending a week in a chaise lounge, feet buried in silky Hawaiian sand and a piña colada in each hand, was motivation enough to find the answer.


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