Federal Per Election Contribution Limits Upheld - State and Federal Communications

December 1, 2017  •  

Federal Per Election Contribution Limits Upheld

On November 28, a court upheld the federal contribution limits set for primary and general elections. In Holmes v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held the per-election structure of the Federal Election Campaign Act’s base contribution ceilings for individuals is constitutional.

Federal law allows individuals to contribute to a federal candidate in the amount of $2,600 per primary election and $2,600 per general election. The plaintiffs had argued individuals should be permitted to give $5,200 to candidates for a general election campaign by not making any contributions at all in a primary election and by carrying over the $2,600 they could have donated for that candidate’s primary election.

In its decision, the court wrote, “The question before us is whether Congress could choose a per-election format consistent with the First Amendment, not whether it had to do so. Congress’s choice in that regard was a constitutionally permissible one.”

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