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Commission recommends raising Maryland’s political contribution limits

A commission launched by the Maryland legislature is calling for an increase in the state’s limits on political contributions as part of an overhaul of its campaign finance laws.

Under current law, individuals are allowed to give up to $4,000 to a single candidate and a total of $10,000 during a four-year election cycle. Those limits have not changed since 1991.

The cap on donations to individual candidates should increase to between $5,000 and $7,000, according to the commission, which the legislature created last year. And the overall cap could be as high as $25,000. the group says in its report.

Those and other recommendations are expected to be debated in the upcoming legislative session, which starts Jan. 9. The commission consisted of legislators, lawyers, election officials and others.

Among the other suggestions:

— Close a loophole that currently allows a person or group that controls multiple limited liability companies to give maximum donations to candidates from each of those LLCs.

— Create “caucus committees” that would allow Democrats and Republicans to help fund campaigns by their party members for the state House and Senate.

— Require more rapid reporting of large independent expenditures and contributions from ballot-issue committees.

The latter recommendation would build upon a recent law that allowed the public to get frequent updates on how much interested parties were spending on the state’s campaign over expanded gambling.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

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