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  • FEC Record: Litigation

Davis v. FEC

August 1, 2006

Jack Davis, a candidate for the House of Representatives in New York's 26th District, has asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to declare certain provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) known as the "Millionaires' Amendment" unconstitutional, and to issue an injunction barring the FEC from enforcing those provisions.


Under the Millionaires' Amendment, candidates who spend more than certain threshold amounts of their own personal funds on their campaigns might render their opponents eligible to receive contributions from individuals at an increased limit. 2 U.S.C. 441a-1. For House candidates, the threshold amount is $350,000. This level of personal campaign spending could trigger increased limits for the self-financed candidate's opponent depending upon the opponent's own campaign expenditures from personal funds and the amount of funds the candidate has raised from other sources. If increased limits are triggered, then the eligible candidate may receive contributions from individuals at three times the usual limit of $2,100 per election and may benefit from party coordinated expenditures in excess of the usual limit.


On March 30, 2006, the plaintiff, Jack Davis, declared his candidacy for the House seat in New York's 26th District. Mr. Davis intends to spend over $350,000 of his own funds on his campaign, expenditures which will trigger the requirements of the "Millionaires' Amendment," and may result in increased contribution limits for his opponent.

Mr. Davis contends that the Millionaires' Amendment infringes upon his First Amendment right to free speech and his Fifth Amendment right to equal protection. Mr. Davis also alleges that the additional disclosure requirements for self-financed candidates required by the Millionaires' Amendment impose an unfair burden on his right to speak in support of his own candidacy. He also asserts that the Millionaires' provisions "dramatically tilt the field" in favor of incumbents by allowing larger contributions and by not adequately factoring in large "war chests" of campaign funds raised in previous elections in determining whether a candidate is eligible to receive contributions at an increased limit.

On July 11, 2006, the district court granted the plaintiff's request that the case be heard by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, as required by 2 U.S.C. 437h.

  • Author 
    • Gary Mullen