Starting this month, nearly all of Kentucky’s campaign contribution limits increase, excepting contributions that remain either unlimited in amount or prohibited.
Perhaps the most substantial change is the establishment of building fund accounts for political party executive committees, which may now accept unlimited funds from corporations. Also of note is the elimination of an aggregate $10,000 or 50%-of-total-contributions limit on how much a candidate or slate of candidates may accept from certain committees, which would have the practical effect of allowing parties to direct more funding into contested races.
Limits are raised to $5,000 annually to any executive committee or caucus campaign committee (up $2,500 over the prior limit); to $2,000 per election for candidates and slates (+$1,000/election); and to $2,000 annually for permanent committees and contributing organizations (+$500/year). The latter two limits would be adjusted every other year. Limits on cash and anonymous contributions would also be raised to $100 from $50.
Other changes include increased thresholds for campaign finance reporting and modified reporting dates. The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance prepared a helpful summary of the changes.
Kentucky’s new campaign finance law follows a trend we have observed over the past ten years. As contributions to outside groups that are permitted to receive unlimited funds have surged, campaign resources have shifted away from candidates and parties and toward outside groups. One response to this dynamic has been a push to raise contribution limits to candidates and parties. As discussed during the legislative debate, Kentucky’s new law does just that. Expect more states to follow suit.