Currently, there is a set limit that any given individual can donate to a political candidate, which varies per level of government. There is also a limit that an official political party, both local and statewide, can donate to a candidate, and, once again, this varies with the level of government being sought, with lower limits at lower levels of government.
However, there is no limit to the amount that a special interest group, otherwise known as an “affiliated political party committee,” APPC, can donate directly. This means that it’s possible to accept an unlimited amount of campaign money from a specific group.
Why is this a problem? This puts politicians in situations where they might feel obligated, as if they need to cater to these large donors, or else risk losing that money next election cycle. As any reasonable person can tell you, having an elected official, who is supposed to represent the people in the county or district or state, etc., but who is instead beholden to a specific group or person or company, is not something that allows the elected politicians to truly represent the people who elected them. This needs to change.
The Solution: The ability for an APPC to form and to donate directly to a candidate should be immediately capped. Donation limits to the APPC should also be capped, so that multiple APPCs cannot be created to circumvent the laws, laws intended to protect the public from the elected officials’ having alternative or ulterior motives.
The current limits for individuals and corporations can be maintained at the current levels, as they are reasonable. Luckily, there is a proposal on the table right now, SB 122, that seeks to eliminate the uncontrolled and murky APPCs so that donations are more closely regulated. I support this measure.
Quick Takeaway: It is not fair to the people to have elected officials who are driven by the thought of re-election campaign donations. The system needs to be modified so the people are represented fairly.