Campaign

Perdue sues over new Georgia fundraising law

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, pool

David Perdue’s (R) gubernatorial campaign has filed a lawsuit challenging a Georgia state law that critics say gives Gov. Brian Kemp (R) an advantage in the governor’s race.

Last year, Kemp signed Georgia Senate Bill 221 into law, allowing those vying for governor, lieutenant governor and party leadership roles to create “leadership committees” with no caps on individual campaign contributions.

The law also does away with limits on when committees can raise money.

Soon after the law was signed, Kemp registered his own leadership committee called the Georgians First Leadership Committee.

Critics of the law have argued that it gives incumbent candidates an unfair advantage, as nonincumbent candidates must win a party primary before they can establish a leadership committee.

In Perdue’s lawsuit, which was obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the former U.S. senator argued that this law creates a disadvantage, as the incumbent candidate in this case has “nearly three-and-a-half years” during which they can accept unlimited campaign contributions.

Perdue announced his bid for Georgia governor last month, challenging Kemp in the GOP primary. This is Perdue’s first campaign after he lost in the 2020 runoff election against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, who is now in the Senate. When announcing his campaign, Perdue directly blamed Kemp for the GOP’s losses in the state.

Perdue’s suit shot down the argument that the new law increased Georgia’s disclosure reporting requirements and said it “simply applied the existing disclosure requirements to the new type of committee.”

“Regardless of public disclosure, the Amendment nakedly benefits the incumbent Governor, at the expense of Senator Perdue, by creating an opportunity for the incumbent Governor to use unlimited contributions to benefit his candidacy and campaign committee and to flood the competitive market of electoral politics with his own message,” read the lawsuit.

Perdue argued that the law was in violation of the First and 14th Amendments and asked that it be declared unconstitutional. He also requested that the activity of any leadership committees established under the law be halted and that the registration of Kemp’s leadership committee be revoked. He is also asking that any contributions made to Kemp’s leadership committee be refunded.

When reached for comment by The Hill, Cody Hall, Kemp’s director of communications and senior adviser to the Georgians First Leadership Committee, called Perdue’s lawsuit “laughable.”

“David Perdue’s record of shady stock deals makes clear that he really doesn’t like playing by the rules, so this laughable lawsuit shouldn’t surprise anyone,” said Hall. “The real question is: why did Perdue’s Senate campaign pay over $600,000 in legal fees in 2021 to the same law firm representing him in this suit?”

Tags Brian Kemp David Perdue Jon Ossoff

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