Federal judge rules Abrams cannot use committee to raise unlimited funds
A federal judge ruled on Thursday that a fundraising committee associated with Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams cannot yet begin to raise unlimited sums of money under a state law passed last year.
Abrams and her yet-to-be-approved leadership committee, One Georgia, filed a lawsuit last month asking that the fundraising committee be allowed to take in unlimited contributions because Abrams is already effectively the Democratic nominee for governor.
The use of such leadership committees was approved last year under a new law backed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who is running for a second term and has already formed a leadership committee of his own. The committees can be used by a select few top candidates, including the incumbent governor and major party nominees.
But in a decision handed down on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen said that while Abrams is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination for governor, she cannot yet be considered her party’s nominee because she hasn’t yet made it through the primary.
Allowing One Georgia to begin raising unlimited amounts of money before the primary would require the court to “effectively rewrite” the law, Cohen wrote.
The Georgia gubernatorial primaries are slated for May 24.
Abrams’s campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said that Thursday’s decision means “it is more urgent than ever” for supporters to “give whatever they can” directly through Abrams’s campaign website.
It’s not the first time that Georgia leadership committees have been the subject of a legal fight. Former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who is challenging Kemp for the Republican nomination, sued Kemp over his use of a leadership committee earlier this year.
A judge sided with Perdue in that case and barred Kemp from using the money in the primary, though not in the general election.