State Contribution Limits and Voluntary Expenditure Ceilings

Candidates running for a state office and committees that make contributions to state candidates are limited in the amount of contributions they may accept from a single source. Beginning January 1, 2021, a state campaign contribution limit will by default apply to city and county candidates when the city or county has not enacted laws addressing contribution limits on such candidates. The contribution limits are different depending on the office, the committee and the contributor.

Contributions from affiliated entities are aggregated for purposes of the limits. And if a candidate for state office is currently a state officeholder, contributions to the candidate’s future election must be cumulated with contributions to his or her officeholder account for purposes of the limits. 

Exceptions

  • State committees (including political parties and PACs) may receive contributions in excess of the limits identified below as long as the contributions are not used to make contributions to state candidates.

  • Contributions to ballot measure committees (including those controlled by a candidate) are not limited. 

  • Contributions raised for a legal defense fund are not subject to limits, but the amount raised must be reasonably necessary to cover attorney's fees and other legal costs related to the proceeding for which the fund is created.

  • Contribution limits do not apply to a committee established by a state officeholder who is the target of a recall to oppose the qualification of the recall measure, and if the recall petition qualifies, the recall election. 

The Limits

The charts below show the current limits per contributor, per election, for state offices and committees as well as for local candidate committees subject to 85301 (d). The primary, general, special, and special run-off elections are considered separate elections. Contribution limits to candidates apply to each election. Contribution limits to officeholders and other committees apply on a calendar year basis. 

Please note that beginning January 1, 2021, a state campaign contribution limit will by default apply to city and county candidates when the city or county has not already enacted laws addressing contribution limits on such candidates. In addition to state laws, contribution limits are also imposed in many California cities, counties and districts. Contact your city or county about contribution limits for local offices.  Local ordinances are posted here. All information should be verified with the elections agency within the local jurisdiction. 

State Contribution Limits

To view a printable version of the contribution limits below, click here.

2021-2022 Contribution Limits to State and Local* Candidates Per Election

 

Contributor Sources

Candidate or Officeholder

Person (individual, business entity, committee/PAC)

Small Contributor Committee (see definition below)

Political Party

City and County Candidates in Cities and Counties That Have Not Enacted Limits 

$4,900

$4,900 $4,900

Senate and Assembly

$4,900

$9,700

No Limit

CalPERS/CalSTRS

$4,900

$9,700

No Limit

Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Controller, Supt. of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner, and Board of Equalization

$8,100

$16,200

No Limit

Governor

$32,400

$32,400

No Limit

*Beginning January 1, 2021, State campaign contribution limit will by default apply to city and county candidates when the city or county has not already enacted a contribution limit on such candidates.

2021-2022 Contribution Limits to Other State Committees Per Calendar Year

  Contributor Sources
Committee Person (individual, business entity, committee/PAC)
Committee (PAC), other than a Political Party, that Contributes to State Candidates $8,100
Political Party Account for State Candidates $40,500
Small Contributor Committee $200
Committee Account NOT for State Candidates (Ballot Measure, PAC, Political Party) No Limit*

*State committees (including political parties and PACs) may receive contributions in excess of the limits identified above as long as the contributions are NOT used for state candidate contributions. (Regulation 18534)

2021-2022 Contribution Limits to State Officeholder Committees Per Calendar Year

  Contributor Sources
Committee Any Source (Person, Small Contributor Committee or Political Party) Aggregate from all Sources
Senate and Assembly $4,000 $67,300
CalPERS/CalSTRS $4,000 $67,300
Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Controller, Supt. of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner, and Board of Equalization $6,700 $134,600
Governor $26,900 $269,300

Contributions from State Candidates and Officeholders

A state candidate or state officeholder may not contribute more than $4,900 to a committee controlled by another state candidate or state officeholder (including a state or local election committee or officeholder account). This limit applies on a per election basis and includes, in the aggregate, contributions made from the candidate's or officeholder's personal funds and from campaign funds. This limit does not apply to a committee controlled by a state candidate to oppose his or her recall, a candidate-controlled ballot measure committee or a candidate's legal defense fund.

Voluntary Expenditure Ceilings

State candidates may voluntarily accept expenditure limits for elections. They must declare on the Candidate Intention Statement (Form 501) whether they accept the voluntary expenditure ceiling established for each election. Candidates who accept the ceiling are designated in either the state ballot pamphlet (statewide candidates) or the voter information portion of the sample ballot (Senate and Assembly candidates) and may purchase space in the sample ballot to place a 250-word statement.  The voluntary expenditure ceilings are effective for elections held between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022. To view a printable version of the chart below, click here.

Voluntary Expenditure Ceilings

To view a printable version of the chart below, click here.

2021-2022 Voluntary Expenditure Ceilings for State Candidates

Office Primary/Special Election General/Special Runoff Election
Assembly $649,000 $1,135,000
Senate $973,000 $1,459,000
Board of Equalization $1,621,000 $2,432,000
Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Controller, Secretary of State, Supt. of Public Instruction, Treasurer $6,485,000 $9,728,000
Governor $9,728,000 $16,212,000
CalPERS/CalSTRS (Section 85400) N/A N/A

Explanation of Terms used in the Contribution Limits Charts

Person – An individual, proprietorship, firm, partnership, joint venture, syndicate, business trust, company, corporation, limited liability company, association, committee and any other organization or group of persons acting in concert.

Small Contributor Committee – Any committee that meets all of the following: 1) has been in existence for at least six months; 2) receives contributions from 100 or more persons; 3) no one person has contributed more than $200 per calendar year; and 4) the committee makes contributions to five or more candidates. 

Political Party Committee - The state central committee or county central committee of an organization that meets the requirements for recognition as a political party outlined in Section 5100 of the Elections Code.

Statewide Except the Governor – The office of Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Controller, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction and member of the State Board of Equalization.

Archived Charts