Campaign Finance Regulations: Contribution Limits

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A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding campaign contribution limits. While this page includes FAQs, they are not legal advice. For exact language and legal requirements, view Portland City Code and City Charter.

Leading up to the Primary Election, I contributed $579 to a mayoral candidate. After the Primary Election am I allowed to donate another $579 to that same candidate?

Portland City candidates do not appear on Primary Election ballots and City Charter does not differentiate between Primary Elections and General Elections when speaking about election cycles. You may donate up to $579 to a candidate starting from the time the last election for that office was held and the date of the next General Election at which that office is being elected. This is typically a four year cycle. Solely for the November 2024 General Election, per ARA 13.02 J, "for all candidates for city office in the November 2024 general election, the election cycle will run from November 9, 2022, through November 5, 2024.

Who is held responsible for ensuring the $579 contribution limits: the campaign or the donor?

Under the City’s campaign finance regulations, both the contributor and the campaign are liable for the transactions that exceed contribution limits. Both the contributor and campaign are subject to mandatory civil penalties if the Auditor’s Office finds a contribution violation.

For example, an individual contributor may be found in violation for making more than the allowed donation to one candidate’s political committee ($579, with limited exceptions) and a candidate’s campaign or other political committee may also be found in violation for accepting such a contribution.

See the specific contribution limits provided under City Charter 3-301 and corresponding City Code 2.10.010 (outside of self-funding provisions in City Charter 3-301(b)(3) and corresponding City Code 2.10.010(b)(3)) and listed below:

  1. An Individual or Entity may make Contributions only as specifically allowed to be received in this Chapter.
  2. A Candidate or Candidate Committee may receive only the following Contributions during any Election Cycle:
    • Not more than $579 from an Individual or a Political Committee other than a Small Donor Committee.
    • Any amount from a qualified Small Donor Committee.

Note: Amounts are adjusted for inflation on January 1 of each odd-numbered year.

I would like to personally donate to multiple City candidates. If I donate $579 to one candidate’s committee, may I contribute additional funds to a different candidate during the election cycle?

Yes. The limitation applies to the individual’s aggregate contribution to a particular candidate either through direct contributions to the candidate or through contributions to a candidate’s committee during the election cycle. 

For Example: Contributor A may not contribute more than $579 in the same election cycle to Candidate A. However, Contributor A may contribute $579 to Candidate A and an additional $579 to Candidate B during the same time period.

Have additional questions? Please contact the City Elections Office at or 503-865-6503.