Dabakis proposes modest limits on campaign donations

Right now, Utah is the wild west when it comes to campaign money. Anybody, or any entity, can give unlimited amounts to a non-federal candidate.

Sen. Jim Dabakis is proposing to cap donations from political action committees, corporations, or labor organizations to a candidate at $100,000 per election cycle. SB140 also caps contributions from individuals to candidates at $50,000 per cycle.

Lawmakers have resisted previous attempts to limit campaign contributions. In 2015 Rep. Brian King proposed a bill to set contribution limits for legislative candidates at $5,000 and statewide candidates at $10,000. A House committee substituted the bill, doubling the limits to $10,000 and $20,000 respectively. However, the full House defeated the legislation 40-31.

Dabakis says his proposal is simply what he sees as a reasonable curb on Utah’s current system of unlimited campaign cash.

I am confident that legislators will agree that no candidate should receive contributions of over $100,000 from special interests,” says Dabakis. 

Dabakis’s bill also sets similar limits on how much money can be donated to school board candidates, judges, political parties, political action committees, and labor organizations.

A 2015 UtahPolicy.com survey found 70% of Utahns favor campaign donation limits on state candidates.