Announcing the lawsuit, Perdue said, “This unconstitutional law was led by Brian Kemp to protect himself and silence those who seek to challenge him. It stinks of cronyism and corruption.
Cody Hall, spokesperson for the Kemp committee, said: “David Perdue’s record of shady stock trading clearly shows that he really doesn’t like playing by the rules, so this laughable trial should come as no surprise.
The bill was led by Republican lawmakers who said it would be better than the current independent “black money” funds that hide donors. They did not, however, explain why only certain politicians should be able to avail of unlimited fundraising.
Many of the steering committee donors are lobbyists, businesses and special interests interested in legislation and state funding. Since the law was created, the Democratic House and Senate caucuses have also set up such funds even though they voted against the creation of the committees last year.
Even then, Democrats expressed concerns about the influence committees have on legislation, as funds can legally collect checks from lobbyists and special interests while lawmakers consider bills. Under state law, individual campaigns from Kemp and state lawmakers are not allowed to fundraise for the campaign during the session, which begins Monday.
“We were all against this ploy,” said Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Elena Parent, D-Atlanta. “I have serious doubts about the financing of American campaigns in general, as it is legalized corruption.
“But if that’s what the system is going to be, you’re stupid if you don’t go along with it.”
House Minority Leader James Beverly, D-Maconsaid, “You don’t want a leader to say, ‘Vote for this bill because we just got $ 100,000. This will not happen under my watch.
The difference between what the Kemp committee can raise and what individual applicants can collect is startling.
Statewide candidates, such as those running for governor, are currently allowed to increase $ 7,600 from individual donors for the primary and general elections, and $ 4,500 for a run-off. Lawmakers can raise $ 3,000 per election cycle from individual donors for primary and general elections and $ 1,600 for second elections.
These limits do not apply to the steering committees that only Kemp, the eventual Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and a few legislative leaders can create. So, for example, a company or trade association seeking tax relief from the General Assembly could donate $ 100,000 or more to such funds and do so while lawmakers contemplate the tax break or while the governor decides to promulgate it.
Kemp’s supporters once had a political nonprofit called Keep Georgia strong who could receive unlimited funds from donors, and he raised at least $ 45,000 from health giant HCA, $ 15,000 from the nursing home lobby and $ 10,000 from PAC filmmakers. But the nonprofit’s CEO, Capitol lobbyist Clay Huckaby, said last summer it was being phased out after the steering committee was passed.
This is because the new steering committees are more advantageous for the campaigns. Political nonprofits, for example, cannot legally coordinate their efforts directly with Kemp’s campaign. His executive committee can, which essentially makes it an arm of his candidacy for re-election.
Kemp’s political team has good reason for wanting a huge political war chest. Former President Donald Trump, who has influence on the state’s Republican base, continued his attacks on Kemp for failing to do more to illegally overturn the 2020 Georgian election results in his favor, and he supported Perdue, a U.S. senator until he lost his seat in January 2021.
If Kemp, as expected, surpasses the primary, he will face a rematch with his 2018 general election opponent, Democrat Stacey Abrams, who set fundraising records that year and whose rights group vote, Fair Fight, has raised over $ 100 million since then.
While Abrams could add a steering committee to his powerful fundraising arsenal, she wouldn’t be able to do so until the Democratic primary is decided in May, 10 months after Kemp created his committee.
Kemp reported in July that his re-election campaign raised around $ 12 million, the highest amount ever achieved by an incumbent seeking re-election one and a half years from the next election. Many of those who have donated – businesses and individuals interested in the legislation and funding – are also giving to its steering committee, which has yet to release fundraising figures for 2021.
Editor-in-chief Greg Bluestein contributed to this article.