Federal Contribution Limits Increased

Nossaman eAlert

Increased federal contribution limits for the 2019-2020 election cycle were recently announced by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).  Certain federal contribution limits are indexed for inflation and adjustments are made in odd-numbered years only.  The new per election limits are effective for the 2019-2020 election cycle (November 7, 2018 – November 3, 2020).  The calendar year limits are effective January 1, 2019.

Individuals may now give up to $2,800 per election to a federal candidate, an increase from $2,700.  Because this limit applies separately to the primary and general election, individuals may give a total of $5,600 per candidate this cycle.  The new limits also allow individuals to give $35,500 to national party committees per year, an increase from $33,900.  National party committees are also permitted to establish separate specialized accounts to pay for expenses related to presidential nominating conventions, headquarters buildings, election recounts, and other legal expenses.  The contribution limit applicable to each of these specialized accounts is 300% of the limits on contributions to the national party committee’s main account.  Under the new limits, each of the specialized accounts may accept $106,500 per year from each individual.  (See chart below).  The FEC also raised the amount a non-multicandidate PAC may contribute to candidates.  However, the limit on what multicandidate PACS may contribute remains unchanged at $5,000.

The FEC also adjusted the threshold for federal candidates to report federal lobbyists or the PACs of their employers who bundle contributions from others for the committees of those federal candidates.  Effective January 1, 2019, political committees must disclose the bundlers and the total amount of the contributions they are credited with raising over $18,700.

The following chart details the new limits for individuals in 2019 & 2020:

An individual may contribute to...

Federal candidates $2,800 per election
National party committees - main account $35,500 per year
National party committees - convention account (RNC and DNC only) $106,500 per year
National party committees - party building account $106,500 per year
National party committees - legal fund account $106,500 per year
State or local party committees' federal accounts $10,000 per year
Federal PACs $5,000 per year

Many states and localities have also adjusted limits on contributions to state and local candidates.  If you have any questions about changes on any level, or need assistance developing a national compliance program for political activity, please contact Fred Dombo at fdombo@nossaman.com

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