Campaign Funds for Childcare

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Passing CFCC: Talking Points

Having a young family is a barrier to running for office in [STATE]. For many working parents, most notably mothers, running a campaign without childcare is not feasible.

Moms are confronted with logistical hurdles, like the fact that women are 15 times more likely than men to be responsible for the majority of childcare. Moms also have to overcome structural barriers, such as the inability to afford childcare while campaigning full-time without a salary. These barriers force many women to wait until their children are grown before they even consider stepping up to run. These barriers have also had a dramatic impact on our political representation. By the time American women are 44-years-old, 86% are mothers. Yet, just 6% of Members of the 117th Congress are mothers with school-aged children.

Having young children shouldn't disqualify any parent from running for office, and neither should the cost of childcare.

In 2018, Liuba Grechen Shirley, Vote Mama Foundation Founder & CEO, championed this critical issue when running for Congress with two young children. She petitioned the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and became the first woman to receive federal approval to spend campaign funds on childcare. This paved the way for other federal candidates to do so as well.

Subsequently, 26 states have brought their state statutes in line with federal regulations — 9 through ethics commission rulings, 1 through an Attorney General ruling, and 16 by passing legislation.

Codifying the use of Campaign Funds for Childcare in [STATE] is a critical step to build political power for working parents [AND/OR CAREGIVERS] and shape a legislature that meaningfully reflects the voice and priorities of the people it serves.

[ IF YOUR STATE ALREADY HAS AN ETHICS/COURT RULING OR ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINION:

While [ETHICS / COURT / AG] rulings do empower candidates to use their campaign funds for childcare, it does not provide a guarantee to all candidates. There is striking variability in the scope of rulings and how they are applied. A ruling can be overturned, whereas legislation is enduring and sends a powerful signal to potential candidates validating the use of Campaign Funds for Childcare. ]

It's time for [STATE] to codify the use of Campaign Funds for Childcare by passing [BILL].

For states with no CFCC approval: What will this legislation do?

Currently, the childcare costs incurred during campaign events and activities are considered a personal expense and therefore not eligible for reimbursement. This legislation would allow state and local candidates to use their campaign funds to pay for campaign related childcare [AND/OR DEPENDENT CARE] expenses.

Childcare should be treated like other allowable expenses — printing literature, meals for campaign staff, travel expenses for campaign events — as an essential component of a viable campaign. 

Allowing candidates to use campaign funds to pay for childcare [AND/OR DEPENDENT CARE] needs is a common sense and equitable solution to the barriers that working parents face while running for office.  Now more than ever, as we work through COVID-19-related recovery toward a more resilient future, we need leaders at the decision making table who will bring a diverse range of perspectives  to identify workable solutions.

Enacting this legislation eliminates barriers for working parents who want to run for office, especially women and women of color. More than 73% of federal campaign funds spent on childcare were spent by women, and more than 45% of funds were spent by people of color.

Representation matters.

[BILL] is essential in elevating the voices of diverse populations in political representation throughout the [STATE/COMMONWEALTH] and eliminating barriers for all parents [AND/OR CAREGIVERS] to run for office and represent their communities. 

For states with an ethics ruling: What will this legislation do?

Per [ETHICS RULING / AG OPINION], childcare costs incurred during campaign events and activities are eligible for reimbursement by campaign funds. 

Allowing candidates to use campaign funds to pay for childcare [AND/OR DEPENDENT CARE] needs is a common sense and equitable solution to the barriers that working parents [/caregivers] face while running for office.  Now more than ever, as we work through COVID-19-related recovery and toward a more resilient future, we need leaders at the decision making table who will bring a diverse range of perspectives to identify workable solutions.

The proposed legislation in [STATE] would codify the current [ETHICS RULING / AG OPINION], allowing candidates to use campaign funds to pay for campaign related childcare [AND/OR DEPENDENT CARE] expenses. 

Enacting this legislation eliminates barriers for  working parents who want to run for office, especially women and women of color. More than 73% of federal campaign funds spent on childcare were spent by women, and more than 45% of funds were spent by people of color. 

Representation matters.

[BILL] is essential in elevating the voices of diverse populations in political representation throughout the [STATE/COMMONWEALTH] and eliminating barriers for all parents [AND/OR CAREGIVERS] to run for office and represent their communities. 

Passing CFCC: FAQ

HOW DO CANDIDATES USE THEIR CAMPAIGN FUNDS FOR CHILDCARE?

With CFCC, candidates can use their campaign funds for any campaign-related childcare expense (or dependent care expenses, in some states), including nursery school tuition, having a babysitter on staff, and childcare for campaign events.

Candidates should report childcare/dependent care expenses in the same way they would for any other campaign-related expenditure. The specifics for reporting differ by state.

We are tracking the use of Campaign Funds for Childcare in all 50 states. Contact us to let us know if you've used it, and sign and share our pledge

WHY PASS LEGISLATION IF MY STATE ALREADY HAS AN ETHICS RULING?

While ethics commission rulings do empower the candidates that request them to use their campaign funds for childcare, they do not necessarily provide a guarantee for all candidates. There is striking variability in both the scope of these rulings and how they are applied. Advisory opinions can be overturned, whereas legislation is enduring and sends a powerful signal validating potential candidates' use of CFCC.

Vote Mama Foundation is working to expand and codify these rulings in all 50 states by 2025 and to increase awareness of CFCC to ensure working parents are empowered to run for office and win.

CAN VOTE MAMA FOUNDATION HELP ME CO/SPONSOR LEGISLATION?
HOW CAN I HELP NORMALIZE CAMPAIGN FUNDS FOR CHILDCARE?

We need to talk about it to normalize it.​

  • Spread the word on social media! Tag us on Twitter and Instagram at @votemamafdn and use #CampaignFundsForChildcare and #CFCC so we can amplify!

  • Publish an op-ed. 

  • Sign and share our pledge.

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Vote Mama Foundation is the leading source of research and analysis on the political participation of mothers. We are normalizing moms running for office with young children, breaking the barriers they face while running, and enabling legislators to pass legislation that is truly family friendly.   

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