Topic:
CAMPAIGN FINANCE; ELECTIONS (GENERAL); LEGISLATORS; LOBBYING; MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS/EMPLOYEES;
Location:
CAMPAIGNS - FINANCE;

OLR Research Report


July 11, 2008

 

2008-R-0405

LIMITS AND RESTRICTIONS ON CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS

By: Sandra Norman-Eady, Chief Attorney

You asked for a table comparing limits and restrictions on contributions to municipal candidates and legislative candidates not participating in the Citizens' Election Program. The Citizens' Election Program is a voluntary system of public campaign financing for statewide and legislative candidates.

The law (CGS 9-611 to 9-620) limits or restricts political contributions to candidates running for public office in this state. The limits vary depending on the office the candidate is seeking and the contributor. Among all of the candidates, the limits are highest for contributions to candidates for municipal chief elected officials (CEOs) and lowest for contributions to candidates for other municipal offices.

The law bans certain contributions altogether. Specifically, it restricts the circumstances under which communicator lobbyists and principals of state contractors, prospective state contractors, and pre-qualified contractors may contribute to or solicit for statewide or legislative candidates, certain political committees (known as PACs), and party committees. It also restricts the circumstances under which their immediate family members may contribute or solicit. However, it creates exemptions for (1) lobbyists and principals who are candidates for elected office and their immediate family members and (2) principals who are elected officials and their immediate family members, and (3) lobbyists' immediate family members who are elected officials (CGS 9-612(g)(4) and 9-610(i)). For more information on the ban on lobbyists and contractor contributions, see OLR Reports 2008-R-0366 and 2008-R-0390.

The law also (1) bans contributions by business entities, but not their PACs, to any candidate's campaign for election to any public office (CGS 9-613) and (2) prohibits candidate committees from contributing to other candidate committees, except paying the pro rata share of joint expenses is allowed (CGS 9-616).

Lastly, the law prohibits candidate committees from receiving contributions from any national committee or candidate committee for federal or out-of-state office. This ban is on receipt of contributions because state law cannot control contributions made by federal or out-of-state committees or candidates.

Table 1 shows campaign contribution limits and restrictions by contributor for municipal office candidates and nonparticipating legislative candidates.

TABLE 1: CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION RESTRICTIONS AND LIMITS

Recipients →

Contributors↓

Candidates for Municipal CEO

Candidates for Other Municipal Offices

Nonparticipating Candidates for State Senate

Nonparticipating Candidates for State Representative

Individual

$ 1,000

$ 250

$ 1,000

$ 250

Communicator Lobbyist

$ 1,000

$ 250

PROHIBITED 3

PROHIBITED 3

Principal of State, Prospective State, or Qualified State Contractor 2 , 4

$ 1,000

$ 250

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

Executive Branch Agency Officials and Employees 2, 5

$ 1,000

$ 250

$ 1,000

$ 250

Constitutional Officer Agency Officials and Employees 2, 5

$ 1,000

$ 250

$ 1,000

$ 250

Legislative Branch Caucus Staff 2, 5

$ 1,000

$ 250

$ 100

$ 100

Children Under Age 18 1

$ 30

$ 30

$ 30

$ 30

Communicator Lobbyist PAC 6

$ 1,500

$ 375

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

Principal of State or Prospective State Contractor PAC 6

$ 1,500

$ 375

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

Labor PAC

$ 1,500

$ 375

$ 1,500

$ 750

Business PAC

$ 1,500

$ 375

$ 1,500

$ 750

PAC Established by 2 or more individuals

$ 1,500

$ 375

$ 1,500

$ 750

Single Election PAC

$ 1,500

$ 375

$ 1,500

$ 750

Legislative Leadership or Caucus PAC

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

$ 10,000

$ 5,000

Business Entity

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

Candidate Committee

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

Town Committee

$ 3,000

$ 1,500

$ 5,000

$ 3,000

State Central Committee

$ 10,000

$ 5,000

$ 10,000

$ 5,000

National or Out-of State Committee

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

PROHIBITED

Source: State Elections Enforcement Commission

Contribution limits apply separately to primaries and elections, except children under age 18 are limited to contributions of $30 per calendar year.

These contributors are subject to the same limits as other individuals, except that lobbyists and contractors are barred from giving to legislative candidates under the circumstances described above and caucus staff are limited to $100 contributions to legislative candidates.

The prohibitions also apply to the spouse and dependent children of communicator lobbyists.

4 The prohibition applies to the principals of a state contractor with a contract valued at $50,000 or more with a single state agency in the legislative branch or multiple contracts with a total value of at least $100,000 per calendar year.

5 The limits also apply to the immediate family members of these individuals.

6 These PACs are subject to the same limits as other PACs established by two or more people with respect to their contributions to candidates for municipal office.

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