Groups urge Nebraska to put limit on campaign donations

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — In recent elections, Nebraska has seen campaign donations skyrocket.

“During the 2022 general elections, we saw twice as much spending on elections as any year prior,” said Gavin Geis with Common Cause Nebraska. 

And in Lincoln, this year’s primary election for mayor was the costliest in record.

The campaigns of Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and former State Sen. Suzanne Geist appear to have raised more than $1 million each.  

Nebraska is one of a handful of states that has no limits on campaign donations from individuals or non-individuals.

“Most of the states surrounding Nebraska limit how much any individual may contribute to a gubernatorial or legislative state race,” said Kate High with the Lincoln League of Women Voters.

Currently, 38 states place some limit on how much individuals can contribute, 43 limit donations from political action committees, and 45 limit contributions from corporations. 

Some organizations say big money has big impacts on elections. 

“It does determine who actually has the ability to run for office,” Geis said. “Those who have the finances or connection to the money to run a big campaign with ads and flyers often have much more success than small candidates.”

They say it can also shape public policy in our state. 

“Those who have the most money get elected; who gets elected determines the legislative agenda,” High said. “Everything flows from that.” 

There are multiple bills before the Legislature this year to limit how much money can be donated to political campaigns. 

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