House approves political donation changes

The House unanimously approved campaign finance reform Thursday, closing a loophole in state law that allows businesses to give far more than individuals can to political candidates.

Without debate, delegates voted 136-0 to curb business giving while increasing donation limits for individuals.  The measure, HB1499, was drawn up in response to changes recommended by a legislative commission that studied the state's campaign finance law.

Under the bill, business owners would no longer be able to sidestep Maryland's campaign donation limits by giving to politicians through multiple "limited liability companies."

In return, however, the bill would raise the limits on individual contributions, from $4,000 per candidate to $6,000, and from $10,000 total in any four-year election cycle to $24.000.

The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee held a hearing Thursday on the reform legislation.

(Correction: An earlier post misidentified the term "limited liability company.")


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