Louisiana removes PAC limits for candidates

By Ted O’Neil | The Center Square

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday signed a law removing a cap on how much money candidates for office can take from political action committees.

Senate Bill 4 takes effect Aug. 1.

Under current law, candidates for major office are limited to accepting $80,000 from PACs. State House and Senate candidates are capped at $60,000 and those running for local offices are limited to $20,000. Those amounts are a combined total for primary and general elections.

The bill was originally introduced in February by Sen. Ed Price, a Democrat from the Baton Rouge suburb of Gonzales.

Price said the bill’s purpose is to increase transparency, noting that candidates can create multiple PACs of their own to accept money from trade and industry PACs, thereby sidestepping the donation limits.

“Let’s just open it up, and forget about the cap on it, and then everybody sees the dollars coming into your campaign,” Price told colleagues when the bill was being discussed on the floor of the Senate.

The state Senate passed the bill 29 to 5 in early May, and the state House approved it 73 to 31 on May 27.

The state Board of Ethics came out against the measure.

Louisiana Progress Action Fund, a progressive nonprofit organization, instead recommended increasing the limit to $100,000 for all offices.

Melissa Flournoy, the group’s chair, testified that the state should discourage the creation of more PACs and that candidates should focus on raising money from voters in their districts rather than looking to special interest groups to fund their campaigns.

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