Soft money refers to money used to advance a particular political campaign in such a manner as to skirt the legal limits on how much money individuals or organizations are allowed to contribute to political campaigns (termed hard money). Popular soft money techniques include paying for thinly veiled advertising that does not name a specific candidate by name, but focuses so narrowly on particular issues tied to a given campaign that it is obvious which contest the advertisement is targeted at and which candidate the ad supports.
With some exceptions, soft money contributions to political parties were generally made illegal in the United States in 2002 with passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. Many of the soft money-funded activities previously undertaken by political parties have been taken over by various 527 groups.
In academia, soft money can refer to funding through individual research grants , rather than a salary via an academic institution .
Last updated: 05-23-2005 19:15:07