House Speaker and House Minority Floor Leader team up to pass campaign contribution bill

02/08/2016 09:30 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill that would double individual campaign contribution limits in Kentucky has passed the Kentucky House by a vote of 71 to 22.

House Bill 147, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, would double the limit on individual campaign contributions from $1,000 to $2,000 as of this July and double the annual limit on individual contributions to a party’s state executive committee and affiliates from $2,500 to $5,000.

The legislation would also double from $10,000 to $20,000 the overall amounts allowed from permanent, executive and caucus campaign committees.

Stumbo told House members that the limit proposed in HB 147 would still be below the national average of $2,400 to $5,600 per contribution; 12 states have no contribution limits.

In addition, the bill would also allow corporate contributions to political party building funds and allow married couples to write one check for a contribution up to the individual limits of each spouse.

Stumbo found an unlikely ally in Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, who added an amendment which would allow candidates to spend up to $200 (instead of the current $100) in campaign contributions to buy tickets to a campaign event. It would also limit establishment of building fund accounts to state executive committees of a political party whose candidate received no less than 15 percent of the total vote in the last regular election.

“Right now you can attend a ticketed event at a campaign event and you can spend $100 per event out of your campaign money, this simply doubles that to $200 which is consistent with what the gentleman from Floyd is doing throughout the bill,” Hoover said.

A number of Democrats voted against the bill including Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, who said he does not think current contribution limits should be changed. In addition, he opposed allowing corporate contributions to building fund accounts.

“We could very easily have a sign in front of the Mitch McConnell Republican Headquarters, or the Democratic Headquarters off of the interstate, saying the AT&T Republican Headquarters, or the Intel-Democratic Headquarters, or the Papa John Republican Headquarters,” Wayne said. “Ladies and gentleman, we don’t want this to happen to our parties.”

Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, D-Lexington, also voted against the bill saying that a vote for the bill was a vote for political greed.

“We are sending a message that we want more money in our political campaigns,” Palumbo said.

The bill now moves on the the Senate for consideration.

About Don Weber

Don Weber joined cn|2 when it launched back in May 2010 and soon became a reporter for Pure Politics. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and has spent many years covering everything from politics to sports. Don says he loves meeting new people everyday as part of his job and also enjoys the fact that no two days are the same when he comes to work. Don Weber can be reached at donald.weber@twcnews.com.

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