"Millionaire Rule" Invoked in Senate Campaign

October 24 2004, 10:45 PM
Did you know about the "Millionaire Law?" It's a federal law intended to level the playing field when one candidate funds his campaign with a large amount of his own cash. It's being invoked now, due to Pete Coors' total donation of more than $500,000 into his campaign coffers. Under the law, Democrat Ken Salazar will be allowed to raise more money to counteract the effect of Coor's personal wealth. Salazar donors, previously limited to donations of $2,000, may now give $6,000. The Coors' campaign acknowledges the amount of Coors' contribution and attributes the need for it to attacks by "extreme environmentalists and lawyers." Salazar's campaign questions whether it will be able to make use of the increased fundraising limits so close to Election Day. That's an interesting issue. Is there anything to prevent a wealthy candidate from throwing in a big chunk of change just days before the election, and using it to pay for, say, a slew of new TV ads? The other side, unlikely to raise matching funds through donations with so little time remaining, would get only a hollow remedy. The race for this Senate seat is the most expensive in Colorado history. It also could be one of the most important in the country, since the Republicans only have a one-seat majority in the Senate. Recent polling shows the parties in a statistical tie, with Salazar ever-so-slightly ahead. Will the extra infusion of Coors' cash tip the scales? If it does, then the law may need some tweaking before the 2006 mid-term elections.