Prepared for California Common Cause by Zoe Klingmann
This report analyzes the impacts of Assembly Bill 571, which set default contribution limits for all local elections in California. We compare campaign spending during the 2018 and 2022 elections to evaluate whether the new
limits caused an increase in independent expenditures.
Looking at a sample of large and medium-population cities in California, we find no evidence that independent expenditures have increased among cities affected by AB 571. At the same time, a comparison group of cities that were unaffected by AB 571 did see an increase in independent spending. These findings suggest that the new contribution limits have not led to a change in independent expenditures, though the sample size is small.