Campaign Finance Reform – Alaska Limit on Out-of-State Contributions

Date: 1 Dec 2008 | posted in: governance | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In 1996 the Alaska Legislature adopted a campaign finance reform law that banned contributions from business and unions and capped campaign contributions at $500 per individual. The new law also put a cap on the contributions that a candidate for governor, lieutenant governor or state legislator could receive from individuals not living in Alaska. For example, a gubernatorial candidate could take no more than $20,000 from all out-of-state donors combined. The law also required Alaska’s political parties and PACs to ensure that 90 percent of their contributions came from in-state residents, and prohibited any out-of-state organization or group from contributing to races in Alaska.

In August 1998, the law was struck down by a federal judge on on First Amendment grounds, and the case was appealed to the state Supreme Court. (State of Alaska v. Alaska ACLU, Super. Ct. of Alaska, 3rd Jud. Dist., No. 3AN-97-5289CI).

OnApril 16, 1999, the Alaska Supreme Court issued its decision in State of Alaska v. ACLU. The Court upheld almost all provisions of the 1996 campaign disclosure reforms as constitutional. The only provisions the Court found unconstitutional were those restricting fundraising to the year of the election; and prohibiting state candidates from accepting contributions during the legislative session.

 


From: Alaska Senate Bill 191 (1996)

(e)A candidate or an individual who has filed with the commission the document necessary to permit that individual to incur election-related expenses under AS 15.13.100 may solicit or accept contributions from an individual who is not a resident of the state at the time the contribution is made if the amounts contributed by individuals who are not residents do not exceed

(1) $20,000, if the candidate or individual is seeking the office of governor or lieutenant governor;

(2) $5,000, if the candidate or individual is seeking the office of state senator;

(3) $3,000, if the candidate or individual is seeking the office of state representative or municipal or other office.

(f)A group or political party may solicit or accept contributions from an individual who is not a resident of the state at the time the contribution is made, but the amounts accepted from individuals who are not residents may not exceed 10 percent of total contributions made to the group or political party during the calendar or group year in which the contributions are received.

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