As expected, earlier this week Governor Malloy signed a bill that changes key provisions of Connecticut’s campaign finance law.  Here are a few highlights of the legislation, which takes effect immediately.

Increase in Contribution Limits:  Many contribution limits applicable to individuals are doubled.  For example, the maximum aggregate limit applicable to individuals contributing to various candidate-related committees moves from $15,000 to $30,000.  Other individual limits are increased, as follows:


Current Law

The Bill

State Central Committee



Town Committee, Legislative Leadership   Committee, Legislative Caucus Committee



Most other PACs (except a referendum PAC,   labor PAC, exploratory committee, or slate committee for justice of the peace in a primary)



Expansion of Contribution and Expenditure Exceptions:  Various additional items and services are no longer considered “contributions” or “expenditures.”

  • lawful communications by a 501(c)(3) charitable organization;
  • the creation of digital photos or video as part of an electronic file (under the existing de minimis exception);
  • campaign training events provided to individuals by a legislative caucus committee, so long as the cost does not exceed $6,000 in a calendar year;
  • an endorsement for a statewide or legislative candidate, provided that the endorser is unopposed at the time of the communication, and the endorsee pays for the communication.

Independent Expenditures:  The most extensive changes to the law concern independent expenditures (IEs).  Particularly notable is the expansion of the general definition of “expenditure” to include any communication (not simply broadcast or printed advertisements) that identifies a candidate at any time (not simply 90 days before the election), subject to very narrow exceptions.  The broad reach of this definition may well be the subject of a legal challenge.

Other changes include new reporting requirements for independent expenditure groups.  As a general rule, periodic reports must be filed once a person makes more than $1,000 in IEs.  But when the IEs concern statewide or legislative candidates, special forms must be filed within 24 hours disclosing certain “covered transfers” of over $5,000.  These new disclosure provisions dovetail with complicated disclaimer requirements for IEs that list the five largest covered transfers in the last 12 months.

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Although some of these provisions (like the contribution limits) can be easily implemented, other provisions (like the disclaimer requirements) will require some careful parsing of the statutes.  We’re giving the bill a close read and will bring you any clarifications and interpretations issued by state regulators in the weeks to come.