Oberweis & the Millionaires’ Amendment

Looks like Jim Oberweis may be in trouble with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) for violating a part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act known as the Millionaires’ Amendment.

The provisions of the Millionaires’ Amendment may, in certain circumstances, increase the contribution limits for House and Senate candidates facing opponents who spend personal funds in excess of certain threshold amounts. The threshold amounts and the triggers for increased limits for House and Senate candidates differ. For House candidates, the threshold amount is $350,000.

Whether contribution limits are actually increased depends on the pattern of campaign spending in a particular election cycle. What’s not in dispute is that as soon as the candidate puts $350,000 into his/her campaign s/he is obligated to notify within 24 hours both the FEC and the opposition candidate.

Oberweis deposited $300,000 into his campaign on February 7 and another $340,000 on February 11, which triggered the reporting requirement.

The FEC has penalized Oberweis once before. Last year he was fined $21,000 for a television ad played during the 2004 Senate race that was ruled to be a corporate contribution prohibited by law.