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Federal Election Commission
August 27, 2007
|MILLIONAIRE'S AMENDMENT - A PRIMER|
What is the Millionaires’ Amendment?
The Millionaires’ Amendment is a part of the McCain-Feingold Law passed in 2002 that increases contribution limits for candidates who face opponents who put substantial sums of their personal funds into their own campaigns.
How much money does the millionaire have to put in before his or her opponent gets increased limits?
How does the Millionaires’ amendment work?
How much do the contribution limits go up?
Under certain circumstances the national and state parties may make unlimited coordinated party expenditures on behalf of their general election candidate.
Is it true that once the millionaire candidate puts in an amount to trigger the Millionaires’ amendment, all opponents get increased limits?
Will the millionaire’s opponents automatically receive increased limits if the millionaire candidate exceeds the threshold?
No. A candidate who has considerably outraised a millionaire opponent will not have increased limits unless the millionaire candidate’s contributions significantly narrow the fundraising gap.
What factors go into whether or not a candidate receives increased limits?
With the exception of special elections, increased limits depend upon:
To determine whether increased limits apply, take one half of the overall fundraising difference between the two candidates and subtract that amount from the difference in personal funds. If what you are left with exceeds the threshold amount ($350,000 in House races, or see this table for Senate races), the non-millionaire candidate receives increased limits.
Below are two fictional races. In the first scenario the non-millionaire has vastly out raised the millionaire. In the second case, the fundraising between the two candidates is closer:
In a House race, John Doe has raised $1,500,000. John’s millionaire opponent has raised $100,000 and contributed $375,000 in personal funds. Under these circumstances, John Doe is not entitled to increased limits.
In a Connecticut Senate race, Jane Smith has raised $1,000,000. Jane’s millionaire opponent has raised $800,000 and contributed $750,000 in personal funds. Under these circumstances Jane Smith is entitled to increased limits.
How do I know if a particular candidate will receive increased limits?
With the exception of special elections, we need a couple of pieces of information:
With this information, you can use the worksheet in the Form 11 instructions to determine whether or not there are increased limits.
If a millionaire candidate contributes money during the primary, does his opponent in the general election automatically get increased limits?
If the millionaire candidate contributes or transfers money to his general election campaign, then his opponent may receive increased limits. More specifically, if money the millionaire contributed during to his primary campagin is transferred to his general campaign, then those funds count towards the triggering threshold for the general election. For example, if a candidate contributed $800,000 dollars to the primary campaign but only spent $200,000 of those funds during the primary, the remaining $600,000 that is transferred to the general campaign would count toward the threshold ($350,000 in House races, or see this table for Senate races) for the general election.