Contribution Limits: An Overview
Updated October 3, 2011
States commonly place limits on contributions to candidates from various sources, and also on contributions to political action committees (PACs) and political parties. Just four states - Missouri, Oregon, Utah and Virginia - place no limits on contributions at all. Another seven states - Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Texas - have minimal contribution limits. These states limit or prohibit contributions by corporations and unions to candidates, but leave contributions from all other sources unlimited. In the remaining 39 states, contributions to candidates from individuals, political parties, PACs, corporations and unions are typically limited or, in the case of corporations and unions, prohibited outright.
At least 14 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Tennesse and Washington) index their contribution limits. All adjust their limits periodically according to the Consumer Price Index.
Other common limitations are those placed on contributions to PACs and parties, limitations or prohibitions on contributions during the legislative session, and limitations on cash contributions and those made by minors.
View the chart of limits on contributions to candidates in effect for the 2011-2012 election cycle. You'll find 50-state data on all these limits from previous election cycles under "50 State Charts" to the right.
For more information on campaign finance reform, contact Jennie Drage Bowser.