Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
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League of Women Voters opposes $10k campaign contribution limit
Posted Feb 14, 2013 by William March
Updated Feb 14, 2013 at 06:04 PM
The Florida League of Women Voters is opposing an increase in campaign contribution limits in Florida, even though backers say the move will help increase transparency in campaign financing.
The legislation, House Bill 569, would increase the limit on contributions to Florida political campaigns from the current $500 to $10,000.
Backers say that would encourage politicians to take campaign money directly into their campaigns, instead of having their supporters send money instead to independent political committees, which don’t have contributions limits but also don’t have to report their donations and expenses. That along with other features of the legislation would make the public more aware of who’s paying for campaigns, the bill sponsors say.
But Florida League President Dierdre Macnab said in a news conference call today the League “believes it is important to have strict and low campaign finance limits to enable Main Street Floridians to have a voice” in politics.
The $10,000 limit, which she noted is four times as high as the limit for contributions to presidential campaigns, is so high politicians will seek to fund their campaigns entirely with big donations, and won’t feel any need to appeal to ordinary people for small contributions. Those average people won’t feel any incentive to make small contributions, or by extension, to get involved in campaigns, she said.
Lloyd Leonard, the League’s national director of advocacy, said the $10,000 limit “raises the possibility of going back to the system of legalized bribery that we had before Watergate,” and New York University law professor Adam Skaggs said high contribution limits, or no limits, have been associated with corruption scandals and lack of competition for incumbents in other states.