Stacey Abrams loses bid to use same fundraising law as Gov. Kemp

by Ezekiel J. Walker
Stacey Abrams loses bid to use same fundraising law as Gov. Kemp
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New laws bring new lawsuits.

Per ABC News, Abrams and her One Georgia committee filed a lawsuit last month challenging the constitutionality of the new law, which allows certain top elected officials and party nominees to create “leadership committees” that can raise campaign funds without limits. But they also asked the judge to order the state ethics commission not to take any action against them if they continue to raise money before the primary next month.

“This Court will not rewrite Georgia law to enable One Georgia to stand in the same shoes as a leadership committee that, in Plaintiffs’ view, is operating in violation of the First Amendment,” U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen wrote in his order.

The law allows the governor and lieutenant governor, opposing major party nominees, and both party caucuses in the state House and Senate to form leadership committees. Unlike conventional political action committees, they are allowed to coordinate with a candidate’s campaign.

Stacey Abrams’ donations could be dwarfed by GOP opponent.

Leadership committees can also collect unlimited contributions, while candidates for statewide office cannot collect more than $7,600 from an individual donor for a primary or general election and $4,500 for a runoff election.

The lawsuit noted that the new law allows Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to raise unlimited funds while Abrams is constrained by the contribution limits.

According to AJC, Stacey Abrams’ lawyers argue that she should be treated as the Democratic nominee now since she didn’t draw a primary opponent. U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, filed an affidavit declaring Abrams the nominee, however, Judge Cohen wasn’t moved.

Abrams’ campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo said in a statement following the ruling that it was “more urgent than ever” for supporters to “give whatever they can” through Abrams’ campaign website to counteract the potentially lopsided contributions balance.

This is what a broken system looks like.

William Perry, the founder of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs, described the judge’s ruling as the likely accurate interpretation of the fundraising law but said the law itself should raise suspicion because it has the potential to erode the public’s trust in politicians and the political process.

Cohen wrote that Stacey Abrams and her committee chose an “untenable option” by asking to be allowed to raise unlimited funds under a law that they contend is unconstitutional. He also rejected the attempt to prevent a Georgia state agency from enforcing a law that says a nominee for governor is chosen in a primary.

Cohen’s ruling didn’t come as a surprise, he was clearly skeptical of Abrams’ requests at a hearing earlier this week. Nevetheless, Abram’s resilience, brilliance and determination will have to be utilized again to overcome yet another hurdle.

Georgia’s Primary Election is set to take place on May 24, early voting begins May 2. The deadline to register to vote is Monday, April 25.

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