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Lack of Millionaire's amendment leaves some candidates scrambling for more donors

The Washington Post reports: In summer 2003, an Illinois state senator used a new law to collect campaign contributions six times the normal limit for his insurgent U.S. Senate race against a multimillionaire securities trader.

But last week the Supreme Court struck down that law, the Millionaire s Amendment, which helped launch the national political career of Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill. by leveling the financial playing field a bit. Writing for a 5 to 4 majority, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the law amounted to an unprecedented penalty on candidates such as Obama s opponent who want to exercise the First Amendment right to spend their own money in a run for office.

House and Senate candidates who had counted on the same aid in taking on wealthy, self-financed opponents are now scrambling for help and advice. Six years after an overhaul of campaign finance law, they find themselves prohibited from accepting the same outsize donations that helped Obama, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman I-Conn. and others win their seats. ...

In the first round of this summer's primary for Alabama's 2nd Congressional District, state Rep. Jay Love (R) donated $500,000 to his campaign. By waiting until May 20 to cross a self-financing threshold, he left his opponents less than two weeks to collect larger-than-normal donations.

Now, because of the court's ruling, Love is free to spend unlimited amounts of his own money against state Sen. Harri Anne Smith in the July 15 GOP runoff. Smith's donors, meanwhile, must abide by campaign finance limits. -- Fundraising Ruling Prompts a Scramble - washingtonpost.com

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