AG McDaniel says Lower Contribution Limits Probably Constitutional

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says cutting in half the contribution limits to political candidates is probably constitutional and could withstand a court challenge.

McDaniel issued a 37-page legal opinion yesterday on legislation unsuccessfully pushed by House Speaker Benny Petrus earlier this year.

Petrus' proposal would have cut the maximum individual contributions to a candidate from $2,000 to $1,000.  It also would have prohibited contributions from two or more businesses sharing the same majority owner, and would require lobbyists to file detailed reports to the state when they spend money on legislators.

Currrently, legislators can receive up to $100 in gifts, food or other items a day from an individual lobbyist.  Lobbyists must report to the state when they spend more than $40 on an individual legislator in a day.

The House passed Petrus' measure, but a Senate committee put off endorsing it.

McDaniel wrote that he believed the contribution limits cut would be constitutional, but noted that the U.S. Supreme Court's view could change.

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