McCain Helps Poor Joe Lieberman


David Lightman writes in the Courant:

Every day a fax machine in a Senate office spits out lists of the latest big donors to the Democratic primary campaigns of Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont.

The Lieberman list is long, running to several handwritten pages containing a roster of familiar names: members of Congress, Fortune 500 executives and well-connected Washington big shots, all ponying up at least $1,000 to back the incumbent.

Lamont's is usually a page with a handful of names, often people who wouldn't be recognized outside their own towns…

In all, Lieberman has raised about $9.2 million, while Lamont has taken in $4.6 million, including $3 million of his own money.

And Lieberman's edge could grow even larger: Because Lamont has given himself so much money, Lieberman's office says he can take advantage of the "millionaire's amendment" designed to create parity between wealthy candidates who help fund their own campaigns and candidates who cannot or will not.

Currently, individuals are limited to donating $2,100 each, but under a complex formula, the senator can bump that to $6,300 immediately. Lieberman's office has concluded the campaign qualifies for the change, and campaign manager Sean Smith said the senator is "asking for as much as people are allowed to give."

More here.

Former FEC member Bradley Smith discussed the "anti-millionaire's amendment" (just one of the incumbent-protecting provisions of McCain-Feingold) in this Reason interview.

I guess the constitutional theory is that people running against millionaires are not easily corrupted but that incumbents who are running against average citizens are.