Under the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act), contributions are subject to limits. This page examines the rules concerning the limits placed on contributions to a nonconnected PAC. The limits apply to all types of contributions (except contributions made to a Super PAC or a non-contribution account of a Hybrid PAC).
It is important to note that a committee is prohibited from retaining contributions that exceed the limits. In the event that a committee receives excessive contributions, it must follow special procedures for handling such funds.
Contribution limits for 2019-2020
|Candidate committee||PAC† (SSF and nonconnected)||Party committee: state/district/local||Party committee: national||Additional national party committee accounts‡|
|Donor||Individual||$2,800* per election||$5,000 per year||$10,000 per year (combined)||$35,500* per year||$106,500* per account, per year|
|Candidate committee||$2,000 per election||$5,000 per year||Unlimited transfers||Unlimited transfers|
|PAC: multicandidate||$5,000 per election||$5,000 per year||$5,000 per year (combined)||$15,000 per year||$45,000 per account, per year|
|PAC: nonmulticandidate||$2,800* per election||$5,000 per year||$10,000 per year (combined)||$35,500* per year||$106,500* per account, per year|
|Party committee: state/district/local||$5,000 per election (combined)||$5,000 per year (combined)||Unlimited transfers||Unlimited transfers|
|Party committee: national||$5,000 per election**||$5,000 per year||Unlimited transfers||Unlimited transfers|
*Indexed for inflation in odd-numbered years.
†“PAC” here refers to a committee that makes contributions to other federal political committees. Independent-expenditure-only political committees (sometimes called “Super PACs”) may accept unlimited contributions, including from corporations and labor organizations.
‡The limits in this column apply to a national party committee’s accounts for: (i) the presidential nominating convention; (ii) election recounts and contests and other legal proceedings; and (iii) national party headquarters buildings. A party’s national committee, Senate campaign committee and House campaign committee are each considered separate national party committees with separate limits. Only a national party committee, not the parties’ national congressional campaign committees, may have an account for the presidential nominating convention.
**Additionally, a national party committee and its Senatorial campaign committee may contribute up to $49,600 combined per campaign to each Senate candidate.
Candidate limit may apply
A contribution received by a nonconnected committee will count against the contributor’s per-candidate, per-election limits for a candidate if:
- The recipient committee is an unauthorized single-candidate committee (that is, a nonconnected committee that is registered with the FEC as supporting only one specific candidate);
- The contributor knows that a substantial portion of his or her contribution will be given to or spent on behalf of a particular candidate; or
- The contributor retains control over the funds after making the contribution (for example, the contributor could later direct the contributed amount to a particular candidate).
Contributions from spouses
Spouses have separate limits, even if only one spouse has an income. A couple may make a joint contribution (part of which would be attributed to each).
A joint contribution is a contribution that is made by more than one person using a single check or other written instrument. A joint contribution represents the personal funds of each donor, so each donor must sign either the check or an accompanying statement.
Cash contributions and anonymous contributions
Contributions in cash are limited to $100 or less. Anonymous contributions are limited to $50 or less.