Since January 1, 2009, 32 generous donors have donated $586,000 to political campaigns. Interestingly, these generous donors are all dead.
According to a USA TODAY investigation of Federal Election Commission filings, a lack of a pulse does not mean lack of a purse.
Of the recently deceased demographic, Mitch McConnell seems to be particularly popular. Perhaps owing to his proximity to the demographic or the beneficiaries of his policies. Last week, a super PAC supporting the Senate Minority Leader announced it had received $100,000 from Houston millionaire, Bob Perry. Impressively, Perry managed to cough up the donation two months after he had died. The Super PAC quickly explained it was a glitch in their software and changed the date of the donation to the more convenient day before Perry’s death.
While it is completely legal to bequeath a donation to a political campaign in the will of the deceased, there are amount limits. Donors may give no more than $5,200 to a federal candidate during an election and a maximum of $32,400 to a political party each year.
However, the most popular recipient of grants beyond the grave is the Democratic National Committee, which accepted more than $245,000. Party officials wisely declined to comment.
Currently, a case is pending at the federal appellate court in Washington that seeks to overturn any restrictions on donations from the deceased. Legally speaking, the plaintiffs argue that Citizen United views money as free speech and the distribution of the estate is the prerogative of the individual and their will. In more sympathetic terms, people writing their wills are just trying to leave this world a better place than when they found it.
Incidents of post mortem pecuniary donations are perhaps not so troubling as when the dead vote. In the 1960 election, it is generally acknowledged that Kennedy won Illinois from the necropolis at the polls.
If these zombie donors are after brains, it's unclear if Washington D.C. is the place they’ll find them.