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Supreme Court to review 'millionaire's amendment'

By The Associated Press
01.11.08

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed today to review a campaign-finance law dubbed the millionaire's amendment, which allows candidates to accept larger contributions when their opponents spend heavily from their personal fortunes.

The measure, part of the 2002 campaign-finance law, is meant to help candidates facing wealthy opponents stay financially competitive. Jack Davis, an unsuccessful congressional candidate who is challenging the law, called it a way to "protect well-financed incumbents who wrote the statute."

Once a self-financed candidate's spending hits certain thresholds, a rival relying on fund raising can collect increasingly higher amounts from donors to catch up.

Davis, a Democrat who narrowly lost a congressional race in New York last year, spent more than $2.2 million of his own money in 2006. He lost to incumbent Republican Rep. Thomas Reynolds, 51% to 49%.

Reynolds did not receive increased contributions after Davis reported exceeding the threshold, $350,000 in House races, Solicitor General Paul Clement said in urging the court to dismiss Davis' case.

Davis said the law violated his First Amendment rights because it treated his personal expenditures as suspect and encouraged significant increases in contributed funds to his opponent.

A three-judge court in Washington upheld the provision, saying Davis failed to show that his speech had been constrained by the millionaire's amendment.  It "does not limit in any way the use of a candidate's personal wealth in his run for office," the court said.

The case is Davis v. Federal Election Commission, 07-320.


Update
Justices dissect 'millionaire's amendment'
High court's conservatives appear divided over campaign-finance law allowing candidates to receive larger contributions when wealthy opponents spend heavily from personal fortunes. 04.22.08

Related

'Millionaire' case: new look at campaign finance

By Tony Mauro Appellant argues that allowing opponents of self-financed candidates to receive larger campaign contributions encourages corruption. 01.14.08

Campaign finance horizon


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