Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Candidate's contribution triggers measure
The candidate's contribution kicks in the 'Millionaire's Amendment.'
State Sen. Charlie Wilson, a Democratic write-in candidate for the 6th Congressional District, contributed $250,000 to his campaign, removing fund-raising restrictions for his two party primary opponents.
With Tuesday's contribution to the campaign, Wilson has provided $507,500 of the money raised for his election bid.
Once a candidate gives more than $350,000 of his or her money to the primary campaign, a federal reform law known as the "Millionaire's Amendment" comes in to play.
Individual donors are limited by the Federal Election Commission from contributing more than $2,100 to congressional candidates during an election cycle, said George Smaragdis, an FEC spokesman.
With Wilson exceeding the $350,000 self-funded amount, his primary opponents can now collect up to $6,300 from individual donors as long as the difference between what they contribute to their campaigns and what Wilson contributes to his campaign amounts to less than $350,000, Smaragdis said.
Wilson's activation of the "Millionaire's Amendment" doesn't impact the Republicans running in the 6th District race, Smaragdis said. But should Wilson win the Democratic primary and exceed the $350,000 self-funding limit for the general election, the same rule would apply to the Republican nominee, Smaragdis said.
"This was enacted to level the playing field," he said.
Congressional candidates must file financial reports with the FEC if they raise more than $5,000.
The two Democrats on the May 2 primary ballot Bob Carr of Wellsville and John Stephen Luchansky of Boardman didn't file reports with the FEC for money raised last year because they didn't reach that $5,000 amount.
Pre-primary reports for congressional candidates are due to the FEC by Thursday. If Carr and/or Luchansky raised any money, it won't be anywhere close to what Wilson, who made his fortune in the funeral and furniture businesses, has collected.
"Because of the unprecedented nature of running a write-in campaign, Sen. Wilson wants to make sure he has all of the resources he needs to be successful," said Amanda Wurst, his campaign spokeswoman.
Also Thursday, Wilson's campaign started calling voters with an automatic system that features President Bill Clinton urging them to support
Wilson's candidacy and to write his name in on the May 2 Democratic primary ballot.
The calls are being made to a random sampling of likely Democratic primary voters in the 12-county district that includes Columbiana and most of Mahoning.
The 6th District is considered among a handful of hotly contested congressional races nationwide.