A legislative committee has endorsed the idea of establishing limits on campaign contributions to politicians running for statewide office and seats in the state legislature. Senator Staci Appel, a Democrat from Ackworth, is the bill’s chief sponsor.
"The role of money in politics is always controversial. I believe now is the time for policymakers to address Iowans’ concerns and the disgust with high-spending campaigns," Appel says. "To limit the amount and source is one of the ways to regulate money in politics."
Currenty, individuals may donate an unlimited amount to a legislative candidate or to someone running for governor, attorney general or any other statewide office. Under Appel’s bill, individual Iowans would be able to donate no more than $4,000 to a single candidate running statewide; no more than $2,000 to a state senate candidate and no more than a thousand dollars to a candidate for a seat in the Iowa House.
Political action committees would be prevented from making unlimited donations, too, with new contribution caps that would be half of what are proposed for individuals. "There is a belief that an unusual, large financial contribution could influence the voting behavior of an elected individual," Appel says. "This bill intends to reduce the potential for corruption or even the appearance of that corruption."
The bill passed the Senate State Government Committee Wednesday with the support of all the Democrats on the panel. Five Republican senators voted no.