How Much of Your Donation Goes to the Candidate?

As election season continues, candidates are bombarding voters with ads, emails, phone calls asking for donations. But do you know where your money is going?

The I-Team's Randy Mac found a Venice man surprised to learn where his donation went.

Professionally Gary Neville is an architect. In his world things fit exactly or not at all.

When Senator Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire Neville found his political fit.

"I had this image of this man who I consider an absolute hero and he's single-handedly trying to take on the system," he said.

Neville got an email which appeared to be from Sanders himself and donated $100 to a campaign for the first time in his life.

But there was a surprise when he saw the email confirmation.

"I noticed that some of it, 50 percent went to another group," he said.

It went to a Political Action Committee called Democracy for America but he claims he never saw that group’s name on the email he clicked — something the PAC disputes.

The I-Team found some complaints online mentioning the same confusion about donations to Bernie Sanders being split with Democracy for America.

During political season some groups use names of candidates they support to try to solicit donations, a trend called tandem fundraising.

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a USC professor and NBC4 political analyst, said solicitations should clearly state who's getting your money or you shouldn't donate to them.

This is why people are so sour on the political system," said Bebitch Jeffe. "There is such suspicion of the lack of transparency."

Democracy for America sent a screen shot of what donors should see on a donation page, which makes clear donations "will be divided evenly between Bernie Sanders and Democracy for America." The PAC told NBC4 Neville may have missed this when he donated and they will always disclose if a donation might be split with some other organization.

The PAC returned Neville's donation after the I-Team got involved so Neville could donate to Sanders’ campaign directly.

Neville thinks there should be even more transparency about where donations will go.

"Just say it on the cover page, that was my beef," he said.

Campaigns and PACs of the same ideology often share donor lists. That's why Neville thinks he first got that email from this PAC.

If you want make sure your money gets to the candidate themselves the best way is going directly through their official website or mail a check to their official address.

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