By the Numbers
Since 2018, 51 federal candidates have used campaign funds to pay for their childcare including:
30 moms running for federal office.
21 dads running for federal office.
43 Democrats running for federal office
8 Republicans running for federal office
73% of the funds spent on childcare have been by women.
Candidates are using campaign funds for childcare in 22 states.
7 states have passed legislation
12 states have allowed use through a ruling
5 states where candidates are using without a ruling
More than 60 state candidates have used campaign funds to pay for their childcare.
There are many barriers that women face when considering running for office, including financial obstacles, the structure and unusual schedules of political careers, and the perception of voters, donors, the press, and the political establishment. There is one significant barrier, that until recently, had not been addressed – that of motherhood.
When our Founder and CEO, Liuba Grechen Shirley, was first asked what she needed to convince her to run for Congress with two toddlers, her response was emphatically childcare. Six months into her campaign, Liuba petitioned the Federal Election Commission and became the first woman to receive federal approval to use campaign funds for childcare. Her petition gained support from Hillary Clinton and was granted, creating a precedent for all other federal candidates.
The Vote Mama Foundation is conducting nonpartisan research and is working with both Democratic and Republican candidates and legislators across the country upon request to petition their state and local election commissions, and introduce legislation to approve the use of campaign funds for childcare for state and local candidates.
There are 22 states in which candidates are using campaign funds for childcare, including 11 where a ruling has allowed use and 6 that have passed legislation. More than 60 state candidates have used the campaign funds they are raising to pay for childcare, and we are the only organization tracking its use at the federal and state levels.
At first the Louisiana Ethics Commission ruled that a female candidate could not use campaign funds for childcare, even though they had approved it for four male candidates in the past. The ethics commission told Morgan Lamandre that she had “misplaced priorities,” and that having a child was her “primary responsibility.” We advised her on her appeal, which she later won.
We are now working to pass campaign funds for childcare in all 50 states — by 2023, starting with Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and then Michigan, Georgia, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Florida!