Georgia Campaign Finance Commission increases contribution limits for state elections

Dentons

In its most recent meeting on September 30, 2021, the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (GGTCFC) unanimously voted to raise the campaign contribution limits applicable to Georgia state and local elections heading into the 2022 election cycle.

As set forth in O.C.G.A. § 21-5-41(k), the GGTCFC is authorized to raise or lower the maximum contribution limit set forth in state law by US$100 increments based on inflation or deflation data as determined by the Consumer Price Index published by the US Department of Labor. In light of inflationary pressures since the most recent contribution limit increase in 2019, the Commission voted unanimously to raise the ceiling on maximum allowable political contributions to candidates for elected office in Georgia during primaries, general elections and runoff elections.

Effective immediately, statewide candidates for governor, attorney general, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance, commissioner of labor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state school superintendent and the state’s five public service commissioners can raise up to US$7,600 per donor for both the primary and general elections, and an additional US$4,500 per donor for both the primary runoff and general runoff elections.

All other candidates, including those seeking election to the General Assembly and those pursuing county, municipal and other local elected positions, can now raise US$3,000 per donor in both the primary and general elections and US$1,600 per donor in both the primary runoff and general runoff elections.

Previously, statewide contribution limits were US$7,000 for the general and primary elections and US$4,100 for any required run-offs. After the adjustment, statewide candidates who participate in primary, primary runoff and general elections—a fairly common occurrence—can now raise as much as US$19,700 from a single donor, an increase of US$1,600. By comparison, non-statewide candidates who participate in primary, primary runoff and general elections can now raise as much as US$7,600 from a single donor, an increase of US$500.

Both monetary and in-kind contributions are subject to these new limits. Candidates, campaign committees and political action committees should take careful note of the change and remain mindful of their obligations not to exceed the applicable caps, whether acting as donors or recipients.

The GGTCFC vote does not impact the operations of Georgia’s newly-created “leadership committee” PACs. These new committees - which may be established by the governor, lieutenant governor, the general election nominees for both those state-wide positions, and the majority and minority caucuses of both the state House and state Senate - will still be able to accept unlimited contributions from permissible sources and spend limitless amounts in coordinated support of Georgia state and local candidates and officeholders.

The Dentons Georgia Public Policy and Political Law Teams will continue to monitor developments in this space throughout the 2021 and 2022 election cycles.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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