Those are the introductory sentences of Chapter 11 of Louisiana's Election Code, commonly referred to as the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act. Lawmakers passed the act in 1980 and it took effect Jan. 1, 1981. It has been adjusted a few times since then, but the CFDA remains Louisiana's primary law governing what a person or group may contribute to a candidate for political office in this state, and how such contributions are reported to the public.
"It is believed by some that money has the potential to corrupt a candidate, to drive him or her to serve their own interests or the interests of their campaign donors rather than the public good," reads an extract from a briefing on campaign finance reform by the National Conference of State Legislatures. "For instance, there is a belief that an unusually large financial contribution could influence the voting behavior of an elected official. Campaign finance laws are intended to reduce the potential for corruption, or even the appearance of corruption."
Louisiana's limits on campaign contributions generally track the median for limits among the 39 states, according to the NCSL:
Individuals, relatives of candidates, legal entities (including most corporations) and small PAC's may contribute up to $5,000 to candidates for a "major office" - statewide positions, as well as several judicial, education and other offices in the state's largest metropolitan areas. They're limited to contributing $2,500 to candidates for a "district office" (including seats in the state legislature and many official positions in mid-sized metro areas) and $1,000 to candidates for any other office.
Candidates themselves face limits, too, on the total contributions they may accept from PAC's for both primary and general elections. This aggregate limit is $80,000 per campaign for major office candidates, $60,000 for district office candidates and $20,000 for candidates for any other office.
It should be said, though, that state law define campaign expenditures is written broadly: "'Expenditure' means a purchase, payment, advance, deposit, or gift, of money or anything of value made for the purpose of supporting, opposing, or otherwise influencing the nomination or election of a person to public office, for the purpose of supporting or opposing a proposition or question submitted to the voters, or for the purpose of supporting or opposing the recall of a public officer, whether made before or after the election." Given such vague wording, some political observers have called for state lawmakers to clarify exactly what constitutes a legitimate campaign expenditure.