Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Millionaires' Amendment

Two recent articles have speculated that Ned Lamont's self-financing of his campaign to the tune of $3,000,000 have opened the door to Joe Lieberman's campaign going back to their donors who have already contributed the maximum allowed and legally receiving more money.

From the AP (via CTConservative):

With U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont contributing a total of $3 million to his Democratic primary campaign, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman can now return to his contributors and ask for more money.


From the Courant:

Meanwhile, the Lieberman campaign declined to comment on whether Lamont's use of $3 million in personal funds has made Lieberman eligible for extra donations - up to an additional $4,200 - from each of the campaign donors who already have given him the maximum $2,100 allowed by law for the primary.
...
The amount of money Lieberman has raised makes it unclear whether Lamont's self-financing will trigger the higher contribution limits that would benefit the incumbent's campaign.


While the Courant should be commended for picking up what the AP missed, that just because the Lamont campaign has crossed the Millionaires' Amendment CT threshold the Lieberman campaign cannot automatically return to maxed-out donors for more money because of the amount that Lieberman has raised, both articles fail to point out the reasons why the Lieberman campaign will not take advantage of this provision:

1. While the formula for determining the Opposition Personal Funds Amount (AKA the amount that Lieberman is allowed to raise up to 110% of with additional contributions of maxed-out donors) is complicated, its not impossible to calculate. So I took a shot at it (anyone can try - its found in 11 CFR 400.10 and 11 CFR 400.31; I have included the formula and my calculations below the sources at the end of this post) and the number I came up with is negative, which means that Lieberman cannot take advantage of the Millionaires' Amendment at the present time. By my calculations, Lamont would have to kick in another roughly $585,000 before the Amendment would become applicable.

2. Funds raised under the Millionaires' Amendment can only be used for the election in which the opponent crosses the threshold and primary and general elections are treated separately (11 CFR 400.2). In other words, even if Lamont had triggered Lieberman's ability to recontact maxed-out donors, he would only have about 12 days to raise and spend that money. After the primary election, he would have to return the excess donations and would only be able to use the Millionaires' Amendment in the general if Lamont self-financed his general election campaign to an extent that crossed the threshold. Given that Lieberman has plenty of cash on hand, given the constant monitoring necessary, and given what is about to be point 3 below, it simply isn't worth it to invoke this provision, even if possible.

3. The FEC is not in the business of helping out campaigns. In evaluating whether they can raise additional funds from maxed-out contributors, the Lieberman campaign would have to decide that they were eligible, risk a complaint being filed immediately and publicly, and then await a decision that would not come for two or three years. It simply isn't worth it.

Interestingly, since Lamont, by self-financing $3,000,000, has exceeded 10x the threshold for Connecticut ($2,575,000), if Lamont had triggered the Millionaires' Amendment, Lieberman would be able to raise $12,600 from each contributor (total or an additional $10,500 from each donor) and take coordinated expenditures from the state and national parties, not just the $6,300 (total or an additional $4,200 from each donor) reported by the AP and the Courant.

Finally, it is unlikely that the Millionaires' Amendment would be triggered in the general because, either a) Lieberman wins the primary and Lamont isn't in the general or b) Lamont wins the primary and the scorecard starts from scratch, only now Lamont has better resources to raise money that do not involve dipping into his own funds.

Sources:

News and notes from the campaign trail, Associated Press, July 25, 2006.

MARK PAZNIOKAS And JON LENDER, Important As All Get-Out, Hartford Courant, July 27, 2006.

Federal Election Commission, Millionaires' Amendment Brochure, 2006.

Federal Election Commission, VAP and Thresholds for Senate Candidates, 2006.

Title 11 Code of Federal Regulations Volume I Part 400 INCREASED LIMITS FOR CANDIDATES OPPOSING SELF-FINANCED CANDIDATES, 2006.

Opposition Personal Funds Amount Calculation:

Since Lieberman's Gross Receipts - Lieberman's Self-finance Amount ($8,464,769) is greater than Lamont's Gross Receipts - Lamont's Self-finance Amount ($4,292,683 - $3,000,000 = $1,292683), the formula is:

Lamont's Self-finance Amount - ((Lieberman's Gross Receipts - Lieberman's Self-finance Amount - Lamont's Gross Receipts - Lamont's Self-finance Amount)/2) or

$3,000,000 - (($8,464,769-$1,292,683)/2) = -$586,043

13 comments:

rc said...

so by your calculations, Lamont can still contribute an additional $500k to his campaign and not trigger the amendment?

If so, that's good for his campaign.

ctkeith said...

Gabe,

This entire issue was created by Marion so Lieberman didn't have to talk about issues like THE IRAQ WAR.

The NYT times asked to interview Lieberman.He Refused.Thats why the article in the times says "Sen. Lieberman was not available for this story".

Can anyone here remember the last time Lieberman took Questions from the Press or the Public?

Liebermans 10 day bus tour starts tomorrow at 10am.Check out MLN for the schedule if you want to ask lieberman a question show up at one of the "stops".

Gabe said...

Right, and thats only in the next 12 days since primary and general elections are calculated seperately.

ctkeith said...

Gabe,
Every minute spent talking about this is a minute Lieberman doesn't have to talk about ISSUES like whether or not the Government should decide when Your or my Parents should be a DNR in the hospital when that time comes.

Did anyone here think that Lamont and Swan hadn't figured exactly how much they could give from Lamonts money without making it an advantage to Lieberman.This is a diversion,plain and simple because the minute Lieberman answers any questions he sinks even faster.

ctblogger said...

Great post Gabe!

PPM scoops the MSM again.

ctblogger said...

..oh yeah. Can we get Lieberman to comment on the real issues like that forgotten war or that mess happening over in the Middle East.

...and what about Joe's decision on Bolton. Dodd gives the firm thumbs down but Joe is on the fence (again).

Anonymous said...

CTBlogger--
"on the fence"? That's just Lieberman bull-crap. Like usual, he'll vote the Republicans' way, if 1) they need him, and 2) he thinks he can sneak it by us.

If the good Senator was really principled, he'd have a firm position by now. Period.

For the record, he played the same game with Social Security, and the Bankruptcy Bill.

Anonymous said...

Lamont and Swan are lamos trying to steal The Democratic Party and ruin it so we will never have a Democratic Governor for another 50 years.

If they get into power DTC's and DSCC will not be safe with the likes of these two and their good friend Keith Crane they will destroy the Democratic party and turn into a Liberal Pulpit full of lies and deceits.

I am staying with Joe Lieberman and the people i know and trust rather than venture into a unknown abyss with Lamont,Swan and Crane and the rest of the liberal goons who only want power and fame.

I would like to know what Swan and Crane's Political backgrounds are? Have they run for office?? Before DFA and dumpjoe.com no one ever heard of these guys now they are sungods to all the Liberals.

Just curious to know why we should oust a three term Senator with a great staff to turn it over to an unknown millionaire who ran for State Senator and lost and is supported by Lowell Weicker and Michael Schaivo I just dont get it.

GO Lieberman!!!!!! The Real Democrat in The US Senate race

Anonymous said...

Pretty quiet night on the range I guess the Liberals are sleeping gearing up for a big weekend of campaigning for Left Said Ned Lamont and his posse.

Anonymous said...

Joe Lieberman....... Our Fighter in The Senate


Ned Lamont.....a bored millionaire seeking something to do
with his time Why dont you go back to volunteer teaching??

Impressed said...

Gabe:

Great post. Well written, well researched. Thanks -- exactly the kind of work that made this blog a hit. Hopefully commenters will see how much value this sort of real dialogue has, and stick to facts and issues in the comments sections on this blog as well.

Gabe said...

Impressed -

Thank you for your kind words. As to your hope that ideas and issues will be stuck to, we can only hope...

JoanBasil said...

Lieberman and his ilk HAVE destroyed the Democratic Party. They stand for nothing.