Another Millionaire Dies Every Day


Scotusblog reports that the "millionaire's amendment"—the campaign finance loophole that allows candidates who are running against self-funding millionaires to raise more money—has been invalidated by the Court.

The Court has released the opinion in Davis v. Federal Election Commission (07-320), on whether the so-called "Millionaire's Amendment" to campaign finance laws, which relaxes campaign finance limits for opponents of congressional candidates spending more than $350,000 of their own money, violates either the First or Fifth Amendments. The ruling below, which upheld the law, is reversed and remanded.

Sam Alito wrote the opinion, siding with Democratic millionaire candidate for Congress (in 2004 and 2006) Jack Davis.

Section 319(a), however, does not raise the contribution limits across the board. Rather, it raises the limits only for the non-self-financing candidate and does so only when the self-financing candidate's expenditure of personal funds causes the OPFA threshold to be exceeded. We have never upheld the constitutionality of a law that imposes different contribution limits for candidates who are competing against each other, and we agree with Davis that this scheme impermissibly burdens his First Amendment right to spend his own money for campaign speech.

This is a big deal. It's not clear, for example, that Barack Obama could have become a senator from Illinois without the millionaire's amendment. The leading Democratic candidate in his race was multi-millionaire Blair Hull, who dumped his own wealth into the race and let Obama raise more money from wealthy Hyde Park types.