One of the provisions of the ethics amendment, passed by two-thirds of City voters during the recent elections, limited campaign contributions to city candidates to $250 per person or business entity. Before the passage of the charter amendment, the limit was $1,000.
The language in the charter amendment appears to put the effective date of the campaign limits on the day that it passed.
This means after November 4th, 2014 anyone running for City Commission could only accept campaign donations that are $250 or less.
It appears this provision had an impact on one local elected official before it even passed.
On October 27th of this year, City Commissioner Scott Maddox filed paperwork with the Leon County Supervisor of Elections to open up a campaign account to finance his re-election to the City Commission. The election for his seat is just under two years away.
On November 10th, Commissioner Maddox filed a campaign report that shows he raised $41,925 on one day, October 30, 2014, just days before the enactment of the $250 campaign limit.
His campaign report shows that he collected 26 $1,000 campaign contributions and 24 $500 campaign contributions.
As of November 4th such contributions are now not allowed due to the passage of the ethics amendment. But before November 4th thes contributions were legal.
Also, if someone chooses to run against Mr. Maddox, moving forward that candidate will be limited to the $250 threshold.
What would Mr. Maddox’s $41,925 look like under the new campaign limits?
Tallahassee Reports did an exclusive analysis and discovered that Mr. Maddox’s contributions under the new law would have resulted in $16,275 – a difference of approximately $25,000.
The irony of this is that several people, including Commissioner Nancy Miller and Commissioner Scott Maddox, argued against the passage of the ethics amendment by taking the position that the campaign contribution limits would favor incumbents.