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Campaign Cash: To Cap, or Not to Cap?

Should the state set limits on political contributions? Depends on which candidate you ask.

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Some government watchdog groups believe campaign money has too much power over elected officials in Texas, which, unlike other states and the federal government, doesn't cap contributions in non-judicial political races.

The idea of potential caps — federal candidates can only raise $2,400 from an individual in an election cycle, for example — has been proposed in recent legislative sessions. Gov. Rick Perry has threatened to veto such legislation, however, causing it to stall. 

As Ben Philpott reports, the candidates set to challenge Perry next year have differing opinions on potential changes to the system, though at least one campaign-money watchdog is skeptical of any campaign-season reform pledges.

The Tribune tracks political money in its state and federal campaign donation databases, which include totals collected by Perry and his main GOP rival, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The last filing period in the governor's race ended June 30. Here's a breakdown since July 1, 2008:

Texans for Kay Bailey Hutchison $14,706,541
Texans For Rick Perry $8,970,016
Tom Schieffer for Governor $505,842
Texans for Kinky $62,380
Debra Medina $40,221
Hank Gilbert $9,295

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Politics State government Campaign finance Griffin Perry Rick Perry State agencies Texas Ethics Commission