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.
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