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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Overturning of Millionaire’s Amendment Has Big Implications in CD10

The Supreme Court recently ruled against an element of McCain-Feingold, specifically, the so-called millionaire’s amendment.

The millionaire’s amendment was created so that if you were running against a self-funding millionaire, you would not be at such a potentially crippling disadvantage.

The amendment did not give you money out of some magical campaign kitty, but it did allow you to raise money in larger amounts than under normal circumstances.

In a congressional race the threshold was $350,000 in self-financing. Once that threshold was crossed, the less wealthy opponent(s) was allowed to raise $6900 per person – triple the usual limits of $2300 (primaries and generals are considered separate – a Republican who spends big in the primary does not necessarily trigger increased spending limits in the general election). The additional $4600 per person could be raised until the amount of money raised under the millionaire’s amendment equaled the amount the wealthy candidate had given to his or her campaign.

What does this mean nationally? It means that wealthy megalomaniacs have just been handed the keys to the cookie jar by our ever so wise Supreme Court. Personally, I found the majority opinion specious (leveling the playing field does not in any way restrict the “free speech” of the wealthy candidate) and hope that Congress passes legislation to address the court’s ill-founded concerns and bring the amendment back in some fashion.

Locally, this shakes things up a bit. Rep. Bill Young’s years on the appropriations committee have given him access to a great many lobbyists, lawyers and executives who would be more than willing to cut him $6900 checks – something he was no doubt counting on if wealthy businessman Max Linn becomes the Democratic nominee. Unfortunately for Bill, he will be reduced to collecting the same $2300 checks as other mere mortals, no matter whether Linn drops $5 or $5 million of his own money in a general election match-up.

3 Comments:

At 7/08/2008 05:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congress needs to step up and make some sort of amendment the court's ruling. While I believe in free speech this ruling could allow someone to "Buy" a seat in Congress and go against what the founders intended.

 
At 7/08/2008 05:51:00 PM, Anonymous Campaign Manager said...

I totally agree.

 
At 7/18/2008 08:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put. Nice catch, CM.

 

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