At their most basic level, hard money and soft money are terms that describe coins and paper money. But in the United States, they also refer to political contributions that go straight to a specific political candidate, or indirectly to parties or committees.When money goes to one specific candidate, it’s considered hard money. When it goes to a political party or committee, it’s soft. The rules governing hard and soft contributions differ, so it’s best to consult the Federal Election Commission’s website before making a donation. Hard money contributions may only come from an individual or political action committee (PAC.) They must abide by the FEC’s strict limitations. There are no limits to the size of soft money contributions. They can come from individuals and political action committees, as well as corporations and other sources. However, the money must be earmarked for party-building activities, such as advocating for the passage of a law, not directed to a particular candidate.