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I am interested in understanding more about the legislation governing corporations campaign contributions at the State level, and how this may differ to the Federal level.

Specifically, it is my understanding that at the federal level, firms are prevented by the FEC from making direct campaign contributions to candidates (although they can e.g. manage corporate PACs, in turn deciding where to allocate contributions made by employees to the firm's PAC [and the firms can cover the running cost of managing a corporate PAC]). Are there any similar restrictions preventing firms from directly contribution to candidates campaigns at the State level, where i assume the FEC doesn't have juristiction?

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Yes. They differ state by state.

22 states completely prohibit corporations from contributing to political campaigns. Another six-Alabama, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia-allow corporations to contribute an unlimited amount of money to state campaigns. Of the remaining 22 states, 19 impose the same restrictions on corporation contributions as they do for individual contributions. The other three set different limits.

Again, please refer to NCSL’s chart on State by State Contribution Limits for the 2015-2016 Election Cycle for more information on corporate contribution limits.

Source: http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/campaign-contribution-limits-overview.aspx

  • Thanks - also from same source, corporation can still control money from corporate PACs (with varying caps) in much the same way as they can at the federal level - "If a corporation desired to form a PAC, pooling contributions from its employees or outside sources into a distinct bank account, the PAC can spend money to influence elections in a way the corporation cannot by itself. 13 states allow PACs to contribute unlimited amounts of money to state campaigns. The remaining 37 either impose the same limitations as the ones on individuals, or provide a separate contribution limit." – kyrenia Mar 31 '16 at 3:47

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