California Proposition 212, Campaign Spending and Contribution Limits (1996)

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California Proposition 212, also known as the Spending Limits and Campaign Contributions Initiative, was on the November 5, 1996 general election ballot in California as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated.

If Proposition 212 had been approved, it would have made these changes to the state's laws governing campaign contributions and spending:

  • Limited the amount of campaign contributions that an individual or group can make to a candidate for state and local elective office.
  • Prohibited lobbyists from making contributions.
  • Established both mandatory and voluntary campaign spending limits.
  • Limited when campaign fund-raising may occur.
  • Eliminated current restrictions on public officials receiving gifts and honoraria.
  • Eliminated tax deductions for lobbying expenses.
  • Established penalties for violations of the measure and increased penalties for existing campaign law violations.

Proposition 208, which also concerned campaign finance in California, was on the same November 5, 1996 ballot as Proposition 212.

Election results

Proposition 212
Defeatedd No4,694,16650.84%
Yes 4,539,403 49.16%

Text of measure



The official ballot summary that appeared on the ballot said:

  • Repeals existing law limiting gifts and prohibiting honoraria received by public officials.
  • Limits contributor's contributions per candidate per election to $200 for statewide offices, $100 for most other offices. Allows committees of small contributors 100 times this individual limit.
  • Prohibits more than 25% of contributions from outside district. Limits total contributions by committees and individuals.Bans direct contributions from businesses and unions.
  • Imposes spending limits.
  • Limits time for fundraising.
  • Prohibits tax deduction for lobbying expenses. Prohibits lobbyists from making or arranging contributions to those they influence.

Fiscal impact

The California Legislative Analyst's Office provided an estimate of net state and local government fiscal impact for Proposition 212. That estimate was:

Adoption of this measure would result in costs to state and local governments for implementation and enforcement of new campaign finance limitations in the range of up to $4 million annually.
The measure would result in unknown, but probably not significant, additional state and local election costs.
The measure would result in additional tax revenues to the state of about $6 million annually due to the elimination of the tax deduction for lobbying expenses.

See also

External links