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New legislation would cut allowable campaign contributions in half

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cseeman
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A new bill in the state senate would cut the allowable financial contributions to state elected officials from individuals and political groups in half.

In some instances the bill would cut allowable contributions to state elected officials such as the Secretary of State and State Attorney General by as much as $71,000.

For state senators that means some campaign contributions would be cut by as much as $10,000.

Democratic State Senator Sean McCann introduced the measure.

“In a world where I think the smaller dollar contributions represent what most Americans are able to do in the political process I’m interested in trying to take out the outside influence of a small group of donors with a lot of resources,” he said.

The bill specifically halves contributions from political committees and individuals but also impacts the larger PAC contributions tied to the size of individual contributions. Officials with Senator McCann’s office said the bill would also undo a 2013 law that automatically factored inflation rates into campaign contribution limits, allowing limits to rise over time without the need for passing legislation.

“You know, when I talk to people in the community and say ‘who asked for more money in politics?’ they just kind of roll their eyes and say nobody that they know,” Irwin said.

McCann said the bill is only a first step in what is needed to reign in the impact of money on politics. He said he's doubtful the measure will pass the republican- controlled house and senate.

“That’s unfortunately not a huge surprise that that is the case,” Irwin said. “I think that part of the reason that organizations and people that seem to come from that perspective seem to like rules that favor those with great resources to influence the process.”

Ultimately, McCann said, campaign finance reform may require a voter approved ballot initiative to pass.