Fewer campaign finance laws were enacted in 2022 than in previous election years. Of the 318 campaign finance bills introduced in the states and Congress last year—on topics including eligibility requirements to run for office, contribution limits and digital campaign practices—48 were enacted in 21 states.
The years’ hottest topic, representing nearly half of the total campaign finance enactments, was disclosure requirements, with 23 bills enacted. Some states now require certain entities to report specific political activities, while others have adjusted their disclosure filing processes, such as changing filing deadlines. For example, California now requires businesses that alter search results or target ads for political purposes to file a disclosure report with the secretary of state. And PACs and political parties in Arizona must now submit campaign finance reports on the third Monday, instead of the 15th day, of the month.
Contribution Limit Changes
Legislators in some states focused on the cost of campaigning. Maine, for example, joins several other states in adjusting contribution limits to campaigns every two years based on the consumer price index, a measure of inflation. Other states have opted to increase contribution limits on a one-time basis; for example, New Hampshire raised its maximums from $1,000 to $5,000.
Some states addressed how the internet is used in elections. In California and Maryland, prechecked recurring contribution boxes now require affirmative consent, meaning that candidates’ websites are prohibited from prechecking recurring donation boxes without having the donors opt in.
Several states also changed digital ad disclosure requirements. California, Colorado and Louisiana now require candidates to disclose who is paying for digital advertisements. This is typically done by printing or linking the names of the funders directly on the ad.
Privacy concerns have spurred action in both digital and nondigital policy areas. For example, Maryland now prohibits contributor information for commercial solicitations. And Virginia prohibits state agencies from requiring 501(c) nonprofits to disclose personal donor information.
There were other notable trends in last year’s campaign finance legislation. Several states, including Georgia, Maryland and Utah, now prohibit people from running or holding public office if they fail to meet campaign finance requirements such as filing disclosure reports or paying fines.
Trends from previous years also continued. In 2021, some states passed legislation that allowed candidates to use campaign funds for child care expenses incurred while running for office. In 2022, Washington joined that list.
To learn more about these laws, please visit NCSL’s 2022 Campaign Finance Enactments page and the Campaign Finance Legislation Database.
Adam Kuckuk is a policy analyst in NCSL’s Elections and Redistricting Program.