Another Millionaire Dies Every Day

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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.

NEXT: Stop Him Before He Places a Classified Ad!

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  1. If we could get rid of these campaign finance laws, this wouldn’t be a problem.

  2. we agree with Davis that this scheme impermissibly burdens his First Amendment right to spend his own money for campaign speech.

    I agree with the decision, but this reasoning strikes me as bizarre. The millionaire’s amendment doesn’t restrict the millionaire spending his own money at all; it just gives his opponent special privileges.

    I do think that it contains an interesting statement, namely, that the First Amendment protects the spending money for campaign speech. Once you cross that line, I don’t know how you uphold any campaign finance restrictions.

  3. I’m tired of arguing the issue. Any campaign finace laws other than full and immediate disclosure shoulf be shredded and burned. The ashes should then be encased in a lead sarcophagus and buried in a radioactive toxic waste dump. The earth above should then be salted.

    No, I an not discussing the issue any more. Direct your lame, poorly reasoned arguments at somebody else. I am not going to be swayed. The laws are ineffective, make liars out of honest people, and are an affront to the first amendment.

  4. J sub D
    agree 1000%. Hopefully, what is happening now between Obama and McCain will show people are not interested in it, and most importantly, the logically fallacies and bizarre outcomes of implementing it.

  5. Ah, but dan, campaign finance law is achieving its intended outcome rather nicely, namely, incumbent entrenchment.

  6. As long as campaign finance is framed as a freedom of speech issue, freedom of speech wins. However, the issue can be framed alternatively as being about conduct of gov’t elections — just as advertising generally can be framed as commerce.

  7. It’s really amazing how anti-free speech some liberals are, after having read a year-old thread on DailyKos pertaining to basically the same financing crap. They call their argument “equal speech” or something like that. Haha, those fools.

    And that’s why I love you guys. The right to free speech is ultimately a right to private property, much like any other natural right. And you end it at that. So simple. So correct.

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