Oberweis & the Millionaires’ Amendment

Looks like Jim Oberweis may be in trouble with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) for violating a part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act known as the Millionaires’ Amendment.

The provisions of the Millionaires’ Amendment may, in certain circumstances, increase the contribution limits for House and Senate candidates facing opponents who spend personal funds in excess of certain threshold amounts. The threshold amounts and the triggers for increased limits for House and Senate candidates differ. For House candidates, the threshold amount is $350,000.

Whether contribution limits are actually increased depends on the pattern of campaign spending in a particular election cycle. What’s not in dispute is that as soon as the candidate puts $350,000 into his/her campaign s/he is obligated to notify within 24 hours both the FEC and the opposition candidate.

Oberweis deposited $300,000 into his campaign on February 7 and another $340,000 on February 11, which triggered the reporting requirement.

The FEC has penalized Oberweis once before. Last year he was fined $21,000 for a television ad played during the 2004 Senate race that was ruled to be a corporate contribution prohibited by law.

2 thoughts on “Oberweis & the Millionaires’ Amendment”

  1. OK, so the candidate paid a fine. That $21,000 fine was just a slap on the wrist to a guy who has that much money. Sure, it’s more than a lot of people’s take-home pay for a year after taxes but to a rich guy like that, $21,000 was more or less a fee for him to do whatever he wanted, no matter what the rules are.

    The people should ask for stiffer penalties for campaign violations. $21,000 is a week’s pay for someone who earns just over a million a year, and I bet the Milkman makes a lot more than a million a year. The penalties should be much higher than that.

    Has anyone else encountered the Oberweis truck parked *on Sycamore Road* just south of Jewel late in the afternoon? I’m calling the cops to ticket it the next time I see it. The driver should park on Oak and walk the 1/2 block to make the delivery. People driving around the parked vehicle are just an accident waiting to happen. The first time I saw it I thought the truck broke down. No, it is someone making a delivery who has no care for the safety of others.

  2. Well, if it’s any consolation, the fines for this particular violation do tend to be a bit stiffer:

    Candidates That Violate the Millionaires’ Amendment Receive Significant Fines

    * $91,000 Fine for Former Representative Charles Taylor. In December 2006, the FEC Taylor On December 27, the FEC fined Taylor, R-Brevard, $91,000 for failing to properly report loans and contributions totaling more than $800,000 that he made to his 2004 congressional campaign. [Asheville Citizen-Times, 1/6/07]

    * $71,000 Fine for J. Edgar Broyhill II (NC-05). In July 2006, the FEC fined for J. Edgar Broyhill II, a candidate in the 2004 primary election, for violating the reporting requirements of the Millionaire’s Amendment, along with other reporting requirements of federal election law. [$71,100 CIVIL PENALTY PAID BY BROYHILL FOR VIOLATIONS OF MILLIONAIRE’S AMENDMENT States News Service July 19, 2006 Wednesday]

    * $68,250 Fine for James R. Socas (VA-10). In March 2006, the FEC fined James R. Socas, a candidate in the 2004 general election for for violating the reporting requirements of the Millionaire’s Amendment. [SOCAS PAYS CIVIL PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS OF MILLIONAIRE’S AMENDMENT States News Service March 16, 2006 Thursday]

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