Campaign Contributions Limits

I’ve heard a number of people lately wondering what are the limits on how much an individual can donate to a political campaign in Mississippi — so this being the first year that I’ve been a Mississippi resident during state elections, I set out to find the answer!With campaign contributions, you have to take into account whether the campaign is for FEDERAL office (president, senate, US congress) or STATE office (like governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, etc). Likewise, you have to consider the contribution from the perspective of the DONOR and the CANDIDATE.1. With regard to the CANDIDATE: All contributions received over $200 (including in-kind donations -ie not money) must be reported in their financial reports pursuant to Mississippi law, and thus are public (that is, anyone can look up the report).2.With regard to limits on what a DONOR can give a candidate: with the exception of certain state judicial races, there is NO LIMIT on the dollar amount (cash or in-kind) that an INDIVIDUAL can give a candidate for STATE office. However, if the office is for Circuit or Chancery Court, the limit for an individual is $2500 per individual per election cycle. If the office is for the Mississippi Supreme Court, the limit for an individual is $5000 per individual per election cycle.3.Corporations, be they for-profit or non-profit, have a cap of $1000 per calendar year for any given office.4.In FEDERAL elections, an individual is capped at $2700 per election, per candidate. Spouses are considered separate individuals, even if their money comes from a common source. And primaries, run-offs, and the general election are considered separate elections. Individuals can give up to $5000 to PAC’s in a federal race (tied to a federal candidate), and donations to SuperPACs (not tied to particular candidates) are uncapped.5.Individuals can give up to $10,000 per year to State Party Committees.Mississippi Code Annotated 97-14-15 contains the provisions regarding the Mississippi rules for contributions to state campaigns and the penalties for violation (a fine of between $1000 and $5000).

About the author:   Diana L. Schmied practiced law in Memphis, TN for 35 years prior to moving to Ocean Springs.  She graduated from the University of Memphis in 1978 Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, with a focus on Urban and Applied Anthropology, and was awarded her Juris Doctorate in 1981 from the Cecil C Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis.  She worked as a staff attorney for Memphis Area Legal Services in the areas of Consumer and Elder Law, prior to establishing a private practice that focused on Adoption and Foster Care Law.  She also offered classes and workshops in Civics to high school aged homeschooled youth in the Memphis area.