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 City’s Primary Election, I contributed $500 to a mayoral candidate. That candidate has since advanced to the November runoff election. Am I allowed to donate another $500 to that same candidate?

Beginning January 1, 2023, individuals and political committees may donate a total of $579 to a candidate or candidate committee over the course of the candidate's election cycle. Because City Charter does not differentiate primary elections from general elections, contributors may not donate an additional $579 to a candidate who has advanced to a runoff election.

For this regulation’s purposes, an election cycle depends on the candidate, but is either:

  1. For incumbents: from the date the person was previously elected to the position, according to official election results, to the date the seat is officially filled. This may be a four-year period, depending on the seat and whether a run-off is required.
  2. For other candidates: from the date the person files for, declares, or begins taking contributions toward City office, through the date the position is elected, according to official election results. This may be from as short as three months to more than a year, depending on the seat, when the person files for office and begins collecting funds, and whether a run-off election is required.

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

Note: Beginning January 1, 2023, the contribution limit has increased to $579 over the course of the candidate's election cycle.

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 ($508, 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 $500 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 $508 in the same election cycle (which includes both the Primary and General Elections) 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.