A pair of bills (LB9 & LB737) have been introduced in the Nebraska Unicameral that take aim at the growing influence of money in our state elections.

LB9: Requires greater disclosure of electioneering communications and would reveal dark money spending in our elections.

LB737: Places a $1000 cap on donations to candidates, which would curtail the influence of the wealthiest donors.

In 2022, Nebraskans saw over $50 million spent by candidates for office. Spending like this guarantees that money is at the heart of running for office and that the wealthy and well-connected are integral to winning elections.

LB9: Dark Money Disclosure

What would this bill do?

State Sen. Carol Blood is sponsoring LB9, which would change the current requirements for reporting expenditures by campaigns and require disclosure for electioneering spending.

Why does this change matter?

Spending by third parties in coordination with a candidate is required to be reported under state law. But outside organizations commonly avoid disclosure rules by running issue advertisements that do not directly advocate for or against a particular candidate but mention the candidate’s position or background on the issue.

This type of electioneering is often done without direct communication with a particular candidate but is clearly done for their benefit. The changes proposed in LB9 would shine a light on who is spending and how much money is being spent in our elections to influence local races outside of actual campaigns.


LB737: Campaign Contribution Limits

What would this bill do?

Sen. Jane Raybould introduced LB737, which limits the amount of money a campaign could receive from donors. This bill amends the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act by placing a $1000 cap on contributions to a candidate committee in a given election cycle.

Why does this change matter?

2022 was a record-breaking year for the amount of money spent in Nebraska’s elections with over $50 million spent statewide. The governor’s race alone accounted for $29 million of that, but state legislative races were also surprisingly expensive: in 19 of the 25 races, at least one candidate spent over $100,000 or more on their campaign. (The annual salary for a state legislator is $12,000).

This surge in campaign spending is a troubling sign for future elections in our state. The amount of money required to run competitively may discourage many Nebraskans from even considering elected office. If this trend continues, those with deep pockets and relationships with wealthy donors will dominate the ballot. A major setback for the representation of everyday Nebraskans and the issues we care about.

Nebraska is one of only a few states in the country with no laws limiting individual campaign donations. Capping donations would temper the amount of money needed to run a competitive race for everyday, working candidates and curb donors’ influence over elected officials once they take office.

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