February 18, 2011
Federal Contribution Limits Increase for the 2011-2012 Federal Election Cycle
Earlier this month, the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) released new limits for the 2011-2012 federal election cycle. Federal contribution limits are indexed for inflation in odd-numbered years. The increases for the 2011-2012 election cycle demonstrate a modest increase from the previous cycle. For example, individuals may now give up to $2,500 per election to a federal candidate committee and up to $30,800 per calendar year to a national political party committee. The aggregate biennial limit for individuals has also increased to $117,000 to all federal recipients. Out o f this $117,000, an individual may contribute up to $46,200 in the aggregate to all federal candidates and up to $70,800 in the aggregate to all federal party committees and political action committees. The increases for the 2011-2012 cycle do not include an increase in permissible contributions to federal PACs. Like the previous cycle(s), the limit is still $5,000 per calendar year. Perhaps the biggest change, however, and a change not reflected on the FEC‘s contribution limits chart is that pursuant to Advisory Opinions issued over the summer, individuals may now make unlimited contributions to independent expenditure PACs. As previously discussed here, these opinions open the door for Independent Expenditure Only PACs to receive unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and labor unions. Federal campaign finance law still prohibits corporations and labor unions from making contributions to candidate committees, party committees and federal PACs that are not organized as Independent Expenditure Only PACs.