Limits Raised on Political Contributions & Gifts to CA Officials & Candidates

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On November 19, 2020, California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) increased the dollar amounts allowed for contributions and gifts to California candidates and elected officials. The new limits will go into effect on January 1, 2021 and will remain until December 31, 2022. Local candidates and elected officials are reminded that they will be subject to the state’s contribution limits by default starting in January 2021 if their jurisdiction has not adopted its own contribution limits.

The New Limits

The Political Reform Act charges the FPPC with making Biennial Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to the following statutory limits:

  • Contribution limits and voluntary expenditure ceilings applicable to candidates for elective state office;
  • State Officeholder account contribution limits; and
  • Gift limits.

Campaign Contribution Limits

  Existing Limit 2021-2022 Adjusted Limit

Assembly, Senate, CalPERS/CALSTRS

$4,700 $4,900

Statewide, other than Governor

$7,800 $8,100
Governor $31,000 $32,400


Officeholder Account Contribution Limits

  Existing Limit 2021-2022 Adjusted Limit
Assembly, Senate $3,900 $4,000
Statewide, other than Governor $6,400 $6,700
Governor $25,700 $26,900


Gift Limits

Existing Limit 2021-2022 Adjusted Limit
$500 $520


New Limits for Local Jurisdictions

For the first time ever in California, candidates in counties and cities without campaign finance limits will be subject to the contribution limits for state assembly and senate candidates. Limits that are currently in place will not be impacted.

Previously, state contribution limits did not apply to local candidates and, unless the local jurisdiction adopted its own limit, such candidates were not subject to contribution limits at all. AB 571, which goes into effect on January 1, 2021, allows a local jurisdiction to adopt contribution limits that are higher or lower than the state limit and that are more precisely tailored to the needs of a particular community. The FPPC does not have enforcement authority over local contribution limits.

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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