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Missouri Eliminates Contribution Limits

September 2008

For the second time in as many years, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt signed a bill into law repealing the state's contribution limits. Voters had approved the contribution limits in a 1994 referendum, but the bill's sponsors argued that the limits were easily evaded by funneling contributions through party committees, which were allowed to contribute unlimited funds directly to candidates. The Missouri Supreme Court struck down a similar bill on procedural grounds in 2007, leading legislators to pass a revised bill focused solely on the contribution limits.

Under the old law, businesses and individuals were not permitted to contribute more than $1,350 per election to candidates for statewide office, $675 to state senate candidates and $325 to candidates for the house of representatives. The new law repeals these limits while also requiring candidates to disclose contributions exceeding $5,000 within 48 hours of receipt. The bill makes additional minor changes to some of the registration and reporting requirements applicable to political committees operating in the state.