A Study on State Lobbying: High Growth States and Campaign Finance- Part 1 (Top 5 Population States)

We have been studying states where lobbying has dramatically grown from 2006-15. Thirteen states rank in the top ten in either or both of the highest growth rate states or most significant raw growth states: California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, North Dakota, Maine, New York, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, and Rhode Island.

Today, we will take a look at the states on this list that rank in the top four in population (California, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania) and their campaign finance laws.

We start with California. The state ranks first in population, first in growth rate over our period, and first in the raw numbers. It’s also a state that allows a pretty staggering amount to be given to candidates for governor- $28,200. For other statewide candidates, the maximum for an individual contribution is $7,000. Legislative candidates can receive a $4,200 in contributions from a single individual.

Interestingly, California has the same limits in place for unions, PACs, and corporations. Parties can give an unlimited amount to candidates.

In Texas, the state with the second highest population which also sits #6 in growth rate and #4 in raw growth, amounts that individuals, PACs, and state parties can give to candidates is unlimited. However, corporations and unions are banned from contributing to candidates.

We have covered New York’s corruption and LLC loophole, but its contribution limits are relatively high as well. In a primary, the maximum contribution for individuals to campaigns is based on a formula that tops out at $19,700 for statewide candidates, $6,500 for those running for Senate, and $4,100 for a candidate for Assembly. For the general, the maximum contribution for an individual is $41,000 to a statewide candidate, $10,300 for a Senate candidate, and $4,100 for someone running for Assembly.

Corporations can essentially contribute $5,000, but the LLC loophole allows for numerous businesses to be set up without assigning contribution amounts to an individual. In practice, and individual can contribute virtually an unlimited amount through a variety of corporations.

Unions and PACs have the same limits as individuals.

Pennsylvania, like Texas, is among the 12 states that allow individuals to give unlimited contributions to candidates. In fact, it has the same rules as the Lone Star State- allowing parties and PACs to give unlimited amounts but keeping corporations and unions out.

This paper covers 4 of the 14 states with the highest individual contribution limits as, interestingly, of the states that have limits, no states have higher limits on what an individual can contribute to a statewide candidate than California and New York. Iowa is the state that has the same rules as Texas and Pennsylvania while multiple states allow unlimited contributions across the board.

Information found in this article is based on the 2016 election cycle.

What do you think? Does the higher amounts allowed in these states contribute to additional lobbying activity? Do any of these states have a good model? Please share your thoughts on Facebook and keep checking www.TakeBack.org for more information.

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Take Back Our Republic strive to be the leading organization in promoting a culture in politics where character and ideas are the basis of being elected and every election is financed with transparency, primarily by the people to be represented and not by outside interests. Headquartered in Auburn, AL since 2015, TBOR has strong financial backing, an engaged board, more than 100 volunteer coordinators in 47 states, and a staff who stands by our mission.


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