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Have you noticed something new on some of our contribution pages? That's today's $4,800 question.

If you were browsing through the 2010 federal candidates and officeholders listed in the ActBlue directory for the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives you might have noticed that the maximum contribution level has changed to $4,800 for candidates. This is due to new increased contribution limits laid out by the Federal Elections Commission, as expected after each 2-year cycle begins at the federal level.

Federal candidates may now receive a maximum contribution of $2,400 per individual for any primary election and up to another $2,400 per individual for the general election. Prior to a primary, candidates are allowed to raise general election funds (as some may remember being noted in news stories surrounding presidential fundraising in 2007-2008). ActBlue allows campaigns to collect the full $4,800 from individuals prior the the conclusion of a primary. After a candidate's primary has passed, the highest contribution level listed on ActBlue will automatically drop to $2,400 which will be the maximum per individual for just the general election. Note- It is incumbent upon campaigns, however, not only to properly report these funds but also to refund any general election designated monies they have received should they not be successful in becoming the Democratic nominee.

Changes were made to other levels of giving as well as has been noted by The Hill.

Individual donors will now be able to give up to $2,400 per election, or $4,800 for both a primary and a general, according to the new guidelines. That's up from the $2,300 per-election limit during the 2008 cycle. Donors are also able to fork over $30,400 to national parties, higher than the $28,500 they were allowed to give last cycle. A single donor is limited to $115,500 — including $45,600 to candidates — per cycle. National parties and their affiliated senatorial committees can aid their Senate candidates with up to $42,600 per election, $2,700 more than they could give during the last cycle. Political action committee donations, which are not indexed for inflation, remain at $5,000 per candidate per election.

That can be a lot of money to keep track of, as total spending caps could potentially limit the amount you are able to give a candidate if they are close to hitting their total federal limit. That's why we encourage regular donors to sign up for an ActBlue Express Account which allows them not only to make one-click contributions that speed up the donor process, but also allows individuals to track the total amount of money they have donated, which campaigns they gave it to, and when they gave it.

As we discussed last time, Acting Blue with ActBlue doesn’t end on Election Day . But what happens after every 2008 election, special election, and run-off is finally over? If it happens to be after a Presidential Election, and if Barack Obama is being sworn in as the new President, it means that the fundraising continues… but not for who you might first expect.

Would have have guessed County Democratic Parties & Clubs?

One of the powerful things about ActBlue is that we list hundreds of Democratic party entities and allow them all to have the same access to our fundraising tools. This helps spread Democratic dollors the the local level, providing grassroots financial support from the bottom of of the Democratic Party up. Take a look at who has been topping the “Hot Pages” charts for the last month.

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Many, if not most, of these organizations are making use of ActBlue event pages which allow them to set ticket prices. This is incredibly useful as many groups have VIP level tickets, advance tickets, and regular tickets which they want to sell in one organized place. These pages allow groups to set a limited number of tickets at any particular level, erasing the confusing of oversold ticket groups.  Event pages also allow groups to collect all the information about their attendees and print out easy to use guest lists for the check-in table on Inauguration Day at their festivities.

County parties and Democratic organizations have also found it easy to include their event pages in email newsletters. For example, the Tarrant County Democrat Party in Texas included this in one of their recent e-newsletters.

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So far, they’ve raised over $25,000 for their local Inaugural Ball via this fundraising page.

There are countless other examples from across the country urging people to RSVP in advance by donating online instead of waiting in line at the door. And as anyone in at the Inauguration in Washington, DC today will tell you, the less waiting time spent waiting in line, the better!

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