Bill would cut allowable campaign contributions in half
KALAMAZOO — Sen. Sean McCann (D–Kalamazoo) today announced legislation to roll back campaign contribution limits and eliminate automatic increases.
Key provisions of the legislation, which will be introduced Tuesday, June 25, include:
“High contribution amounts reduce the influence of most citizens and their access to lawmakers. Elections should be decided by the strength of ideas, not by money,” Sen. McCann said. “This legislation to cut our campaign contribution amounts is an important step in ensuring lawmakers are accountable to their constituents first.”
In 2013, Michigan’s legislature and governor welcomed more money into politics by doubling the limits for political contributions for candidates, Political Action Committees (PACs) and Super PACs. Nearly $10 million in additional funding poured into the 2018 state legislative and governor’s races alone due to these higher limits.
“We saw millions more dollars pour into our electoral process. As a state representative, I voted against increasing contribution limits in 2013. I feel strongly that letting more money into our political system is still the wrong direction for Michigan,” Sen. McCann said.
Total campaign costs have only continued to rise. According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, the 2018 election cycle was the most expensive in Michigan’s history. In the lead up to last year’s election, over $60 million was spent on state legislature campaigns alone.
“Taking steps to reduce the influence of money in campaigns is common sense, and I commend Sen. McCann for his determination to strengthen the voice of Michiganders in our elections. Returning campaign contribution limits to the 2013 levels is an important move in the right direction,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. “As part of a broader effort that includes measures to get at the unlimited, undisclosed dark money influencing our elections, this would go a long way toward restoring the public’s trust in government. I look forward to working with Sen. McCann and his colleagues from both sides of the aisle in efforts to modernize Michigan’s campaign finance system.”
Local residents echoed support for Sen. McCann’s proposal to reduce limits, citing concerns over the 2013 increase its impact on elected officials’ accountability overall.
“While many in our community do donate to political campaigns, our donations are generally fairly small,” Kalamazoo resident Connie Ferguson said. “Often it seems that large donations increase the donor’s access to the political process, crowding out those who can give only smaller amounts.”
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