Millionaire's Decision

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The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has agreed to hear arguments on the so-called "millionaire's amendment" to the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act (BCRA, aka McCain-Feingold). The millionaire's amendment exempts candidates facing wealthy self-financing opponents from certain federal campaign contribution limits established in BCRA. This article in The Hill notes that the ruling could impact the Clean Elections laws in Arizona and Maine.

The millionaire's amendment is a counterbalance to a scenario where contribution limits could enable a self-financed candidate to "buy" the election at the expense of candidates who aren't able to write big checks to their own campaign. While any provision that opens the door for big contributions to pour in is troublesome, the more worrying part of this decision is what it could mean for the matching funds section of Clean Elections laws. If a Clean Elections candidate is significantly outspent by a self-financed challenger he or she receives matching funds to remain competitive. An FEC ruling against the "millionaire's amendment" could call these matching funds into question.

Nothing to get too worried about though, since the FEC can't offer much in the way of binding decisions anyway these days.