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Spending money before its time

About 25 percent of the money Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch has raised for his U.S. Senate bid -- $447,850 -- is earmarked for the Nov. 2 general election. For Republican House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, it's 12 percent.

But what if these candidates don't win their respective Aug. 31 primaries?

No matter. Federal law allows donors to give the maximum $2,000 for the primary -- and at the same time kick in another $2,000 for the general -- even though there's no guarantee that their candidate will make it to the second election.

It's illegal, in many cases, to spend general election money before the primary. But some candidates flout the law and spend all their money, essentially double dipping from the same contributor, says Dwight L. Morris, president of a nonpartisan campaign finance consulting firm. -- Skirting law, some shift use of campaign funds for primary (Miami Herald)