Campaign Finance

States Discover Increasing Donation Limits a Way to Fight Super PACs

It's about time they realized


State governments from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic seaboard are attempting to blunt the influence of free-spending super PACs and nonprofits by allowing people to contribute more money to political candidates.

Six governors — three Republicans and three Democrats — have signed bills increasing campaign contribution limits so far in 2013, while lawmakers in nearly a dozen other states have introduced similar legislation, a Center for Public Integrity review found.

The increase in limits follows the recent explosion of election activity by outside groups in the post-Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission era, which has led to candidates being attacked by super PACs and 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations that often spend more money on advertising than the candidates themselves.

In hopes of gaining greater control over their campaigns, some state lawmakers are pushing to allow candidates and parties to raise more funds while, in a few cases, imposing new restrictions on independent groups.