Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Aldermen Will Again Consider Limiting Campaign Contributions

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Aldermen Will Again Consider Limiting Campaign Contributions

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS - Donations to candidates for city office could not exceed $2,600 under a measure before the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

It's the second time in recent years city aldermen have sought to cap political contributions. In 2016, they approved a proposal limiting those donations in city elections to $10,000 per cycle.

Now, the city should take a step further, argues sponsoring Alderman Cara Spencer, who thinks city officials should follow suit with a statewide initiative that 70 percent of Missouri voters approved last year, capping contributions to state candidates to $2,600 for individuals and $25,000 to political parties.

"I think the city of St. Louis should be at least as progressive as the state of Missouri, at least as ethical, in moving in that same direction," said Spencer, who represents the 20th Ward.

Supporters of campaign contribution caps say they allow average citizens to have a greater influence on elections by rendering candidates unable to rely on huge donations from select megadonors. But those who disavow the caps say that donating to a political campaign is a form of free speech and expression and that limits on those donations inhibit those rights.

The stricter limits would be applied to elections for mayor, comptroller, treasurer, collector of revenue, license collector, sheriff, recorder of deeds, the St. Louis school board, the Board of Aldermen and the board's president.

A similar effort is underway in St. Louis County. Unlike the city proposal, the county measure would be up to voters because it requires a charter change. …

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