New Campaign Contribution and Gift Limits

December 2020

A new state law effective January 1, 2021 (but originally enacted in October 2019) creates “default” campaign contribution limits for all cities and counties which do not already have their own limits. The new law requires all cities and counties without their own contribution limits to adopt the current contribution limits for state legislative candidates: $4,900 per election. A city or county may choose to set its own limit, whether higher or lower than the state amount – but if a city or county does not set its own limit by January 1, 2021, then the state limit automatically becomes law in that jurisdiction.
    The new state law also gives the FPPC authority over these local campaign contribution limits in local jurisdictions which default to the state limit, but not in jurisdictions which adopt their own lower or higher limits.
    Many municipalities across the state have already set their own contribution limits to avoid defaulting to the state limit, including the County of Fresno ($30,000), Inglewood ($100,000, one of the highest caps in the state), and Cathedral City ($2,500). Individuals and entities contributing to candidate campaigns in cities and counties which chose to not adopt their own contribution limits need to be aware that, as of January 1, 2021, the contribution limits in these localities will be $4,900 per election.
    Furthermore, in mid-November, the FPPC approved biennial cost of living increases to “gift” and contribution limits for January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022. (The FPPC also increased limits on contributions from “small contributor committees” and increased the voluntary spending limits for state candidate campaigns.)
New Gift Limit
    •   $520 per calendar year.
New Campaign Contribution Limits
    •   State Senate, State Assembly, CalPERS Board and CalSTRS Board: $4,900 per election.
    •   Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Controller, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner and Board of Equalization: $8,100 per election.
    •   Governor: $32,400 per election.
    •   PACs which support state-level candidates: $8,100 per calendar year.
    •   Political Party Committees: $40,500 per calendar year.
    •   Senate or Assembly “officeholder” accounts: $4,000 per calendar year.
    •   Statewide elected officials (other than Governor) officeholder accounts: $6,700 per calendar year.
    •   Governor officeholder accounts: $26,900 per calendar year.
 *          *          *
Feel free to contact a Sutton Law Firm attorney or Political Compliance Specialist if you have any questions regarding these new limits.
About the Sutton Law Firm
The Sutton Law Firm specializes in political and election law, representing businesses, individuals, candidates, ballot measures, PACs and nonprofit organizations involved in the political and legislative processes on the state, local and national levels. The firm offers its clients a full range of legal, reporting and litigation services.