In the midst of New Haven’s mayoral race, Democratic incumbent John DeStefano Jr. and his challenger, state Sen. Martin Looney, are creatively strategizing to raise money to fund their campaigns. But in their fund-raising efforts, both sides must abide by a strict set of Connecticut campaign finance laws that determine how much they can receive and from whom.

According to state law, a contribution is generally a gift to a political campaign, given with the intent to promote either the success or defeat of a candidate. A contribution may include, but is not limited to, payment or deposit of money, a loan or a written contract. The definition does not include tickets to a fund raiser that cost less than $30.

Any individual, except the candidate himself, may contribute up to $1,000 to a campaign. Similarly, political action committees are allowed to give a maximum of $1,000 to each campaign. Such committees can be organized by candidates, business entities or groups of more than two individuals.

In an exception to this, party-affiliated state or town PACs can make unlimited contributions to a campaign.

Businesses may not contribute to campaigns unless they form a PAC and make “reasonable and necessary” transfers to campaigns through their PAC, according to state law.