Saturday, June 28, 2008

McConnell Vindicated on Campaign Finance

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has long opposed "campaign finance reform" on the grounds that it limits free speech. Yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling suggests that Justice Samuel Alito -- and perhaps a majority of the Court -- agree with McConnell.

The Court struck down the "millionaire's amendment" that waived the contributions limit for candidates running against millionaires who self-fund their own campaign.

As McClatchey noted, McConnell's opposition to the "millionaire's amendment" comes at a steep cost:

Ironically, Thursday's Supreme Court ruling gives McConnell's Democratic opponent, Bruce Lunsford, the leeway to fund a stronger campaign against the senator, said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor with the Cook Political Report.

"The ruling will allow Lunsford to spend as much money as he wants without any recourse from McConnell," Duffy said.

Lunsford, a wealthy Louisville businessman, has coffers capable of bankrolling his campaign. Though he initially wrote in filing papers to the FEC that he doesn't intend to spend his own money, Lunsford became the first Kentucky candidate ever to trigger the millionaire's amendment when he pumped more than $1 million of his own money into his bid for U.S. Senate.

During his unsuccessful 2003 and 2007 runs for governor, Lunsford pumped $14 million of his own money into the campaigns.

After the toxicity of Hillary Clinton, and the endless parsing and backpedaling of Barack Obama, McConnell's respect for the first amendment reminds us that public servants are called to put country ahead of their own hides.

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