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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Herman Talmadge, July 15 and 24, 1975. Interview A-0331-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Political uses of excess campaign funds

Talmadge briefly describes how campaign funds are acquired and he explains how excess funds are dealt with following an election. Although some of the left over money was refunded, Talmadge says that the rest of it was used to fund endeavors that would serve to further the efforts of his office. For instance, leftover campaign funds were used to finance radio spots and television programs in Georgia about Talmadge's work in the Senate. His comments are revealing of the ways in which campaign funds are utilized for various political purposes.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Herman Talmadge, July 15 and 24, 1975. Interview A-0331-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACK NELSON:
It must be that with the political backing that you do have in the state and have had for quite some time, that you wouldn't have to raise enormous sums of money to campaign.
SENATOR HERMAN TALMADGE:
No.
JACK NELSON:
Is that true?
SENATOR HERMAN TALMADGE:
That's true. As a matter of fact, I had a good deal of money left over. I did not solicit any money except that we had two campaign funds. One of them was Georgians for Talmadge, that was headed up by Rogers Wade, who is now my administrative assistant and also the young lawyer down there that used to be with Dick Russell, what's his name . . . Charles . . . he was in my office yesterday, went with Sizemore's firm . . . Charles Campbell, who joined Lamar Sizemore's firm. He was in charge of it. They raised modest contributions, tried to limit it to about $100 and that was the active campaign fund. The other that we had in Washington and continued to be in being ever since I've been in politics . . .
JACK NELSON:
Now this was when?
SENATOR HERMAN TALMADGE:
This was last year, but this campaign fund has been in existence all along. We had some contributions . . . [END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A] [TAPE 2, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
SENATOR HERMAN TALMADGE:
. . . considerable funds left over in both campaign funds. So, we decided to refund the money to all of them that wanted it and they refunded the money on the Georgians for Talmadge and liquidated that. I think that they got back about thirty or forty cents on each dollar they contributed. The campaign fund that we've got here in Washington, none of them wanted it returned, so we just kept it. We are using it in accordance with the law for any purpose that furthers my political efforts or my office efforts. For instance, I do a weekly radio program that we send to all the Georgia radio stations and about twice a month, I do a television program that we send to all the t.v. stations. I do a weekly newsletter that goes out to virtually every newspaper in Georgia and then I do a mass mailing about once a month. We pay for that out of leftover campaign funds, also entertainment expenses, sometimes I have to give luncheons from time to time. Delegations that come up here from Georgia, we pay that out of the campaign funds.