Montana

House gives initial approval to raising contribution limits

HELENA, Mont. - The Montana House has endorsed a measure it previously rejected to raise campaign contribution limits for state candidates and change how the commissioner of political practices enforces violations.

The bill passed an initial vote 54-46 Thursday and must pass a final vote before it goes to Gov. Steve Bullock.

On Tuesday, the House rejected the measure 50-50, but brought it back for reconsideration.

The bill would raise contribution limits as a lawsuit challenging those limits as too low is pending in a federal appeals court.

It would also add an outside mediator to review campaign violation cases and give the attorney general oversight of any prosecutions.

Democratic lawmakers argued against the bill, saying it would undermine the campaign disclosure reforms passed in 2015 and allow big-money interests to influence elections.

The bill under consideration in the Montana House would raise the campaign contribution limits that individuals, political committees and political parties can give to state candidates. A glance at the limits being proposed:

GOVERNOR:

-Individuals and political committees: $1,990 to a candidate per election cycle, which includes both primary and general elections.

- Political parties: $47,700 to a candidate per election cycle.

OTHER STATEWIDE OFFICE:

- Individuals and political committees: $990 per election cycle.

- Political parties: $17,000 per election cycle.

SENATE:

- Individuals and political committees: $530 per election cycle.

- Political parties: $2,800 per election cycle.

- Political committees would be able to contribute no more than $5,600 in total to all candidates in an election cycle.

HOUSE:

- Individuals and political committees: $530 per election cycle.

- Political parties: $2,800 per election cycle.

- Political committees would be able to contribute no more than $3,400 in total to all candidates in an election cycle.


More Stories