Election Central

Ysursa: Idaho’s Sunshine Law unchanged by Supreme Court decision

Idaho’s limits on campaign contributions are unaffected by Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision lifting limits on wealthy donors to federal candidates and party committees.

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said Thursday that Idaho’s Sunshine Law, enacted by voters in a 1974 initiative, remains intact after the court’s 5-4 Decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.

Idaho’s per-election contribution limits are $1,000 for legislative candidates and $5,000 for statewide candidates.

Federal law will continue to limit contributions to candidates for president, U.S. Senate and U.S. House to $2,600 per election. Both state and federal law allows individuals to contribute the maximum in both primary and general elections.

Unlike federal law, corporations may also directly contribute to candidates for Idaho offices.

McCutcheon allows large contributors to give to more candidates and lifts caps for giving to political parties. The overturned cap was $48,600 for contributions to all federal candidates in a two-year federal election cycle.

Under Federal Election Commission rules that were struck down, a donor could give the maximum amount to fewer than 10 candidates before hitting the cap. The ceiling for giving to political parties was higher, at $32,400 per year to a national party and $10,000 a year to a state or local party and a separate aggregate limit of $74,600.


Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics