Senate bill would further cap campaign finance contribution limits in Michigan

Michigan residents would see more restrictive caps on individual political campaign spending under legislation set to be introduced in the state Senate this week.

The bill, backed by state Sen. Sean McCann, D-Kalamazoo, would halve campaign contribution limits to state-level candidates, campaigns and Political Action Committees, or PACS, as well as eliminate a provision that allows campaign contribution limits to be adjusted for inflation every four years.

McCann has experienced money in politics firsthand – his two matchups for the 20th District Senate seat against former Sen. Margaret O’Brien in 2014 and 2018 have been among the most expensive in the state. According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, $2.4 million was spent on the 2018 race, and it was one of eight state Senate races statewide to top $2 million.

“I don’t want to be one of six or eight people running in competitive districts and trying to raise as much as I possibly can,” he said. “I’d rather be spending less time holding fundraisers or calling people for contributions and more time knocking on voters’ doors, and really getting the contact with everyday constituents.”

McCann said he’s hoping reducing the allowable limit on individual campaign spending will reduce outsize influence on elections from a few wealthy actors, and believes stricter limits on money in politics would complement recent citizen-led efforts to create an independent redistricting commission and codify easier access to voting.

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