An Arizona House committee advanced a bill Thursday that would more than double campaign contribution limits for statewide races and quintuple limits for legislative races.
The bill affects candidates running with private financing, leading critics to say it would hurt the state's public campaign funding option, known as Clean Elections.
The bill, which passed the Elections Committee 5-3, would allow statewide, legislative or other candidates to accept $2,500 from individual donors and $5,000 from some political committees. It would allow candidates to collect the maximum contribution twice — during the primary and the general election.
Arizona currently caps individual contributions at $1,010 per statewide candidate and $488 per legislative candidate through the primary and general elections.
Clean Elections was approved by voters more than a decade ago, using state traffic fine proceeds and other funds to provide a set amount of funding for all candidates who qualify for it. To qualify, candidates must collect $5 contributions from certain numbers of donors, dependent on their race.
The system has been under attack, largely by conservative groups, since it was approved. A provision of it allowing candidates who qualify to receive additional funding depending on what accrues to privately financed campaigns was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 as a First Amendment abridgement.