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
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
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,