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Federal Judge Rules Against Stacey Abrams In Fundraising Case

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Democrat Georgia candidate for governor, Stacey Abrams, was just dealt a tough blow by a federal court.

A judge ruled that a fundraising committee connected to her cannot begin raising unlimited funds, adhering to a state law passed last year because she has not been named as the nominee of her party, NBC News reported.

The One Georgia committee filed a lawsuit last month to challenge the constitutionality of the law which does allot top elected officers, party nominees and “leadership committees” to raise unlimited funds.

The group also asked the judge to not allow the state ethics commission to take action against it if it continues to raise funds prior to next month’s state primary.

“This court will not rewrite Georgia law to enable One Georgia to stand in the same shoes as a leadership committee that, in Plaintiffs’ view, is operating in violation of the First Amendment,” U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen said.

Abrams’ campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo said after the ruling that it’s even more important now for supporters to donate directly to the campaign.

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The law allows the governor and lieutenant governor, opposing major party nominees, and both party caucuses in the state House and Senate to form leadership committees. Unlike traditional political action committees, they are allowed to coordinate with a candidate’s campaign.

Leadership committees can also collect unlimited contributions, while candidates for statewide office cannot collect more than $7,600 from an individual donor for a primary or general election and $4,500 for a runoff election.

The lawsuit noted that the new law allows Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to raise unlimited funds while Abrams is constrained by the contribution limits.

Days ago the judge raised skepticism about the request, which meant that his decision did not stun the Abrams campaign.

“The remedy you’re asking me to do, I’m uncomfortable with, because you’re asking me to rewrite the statute,” he said to attorney Joyce Lewis during a hearing in Atlanta.

He said that it would have “made more sense” if the group had asked him to shut down the ability of Gov. Brian Kemp’s committee to raise money.

“Why are you not asking me to shut down Kemp’s leadership committee?” he said.

“The law of Georgia say she’s not the nominee,” the judge said.

But the attorney argued that it was not fair for Gov. Kemp to continue to raise funds when Abrams cannot.

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“Every day we are not allowed to raise and the Kemp campaign is allowed to raise is a day we are on unequal footing,” she argued. She said that even if Gov. kemp cannot use the funds right now he can “stockpile” money. “We are not asking for unequal treatment. We are asking for equal treatment.”

Lauren Groh-Wargo, the campaign manager for Abrams, said after the decision that “it is more urgent than ever” for supporters to “give whatever they can” directly through the candidate’s website.

Last week, during a press conference in Gulf County on Friday the governor said that if Democrat Georgia candidate Stacey Abrams were to win the governorship of his neighboring state there would be a “Cold War” between them, Fox News reported.

“If Stacey Abrams is elected governor of Georgia, I just want to be honest, that will be a cold war between Florida and Georgia,” the Florida governor said.

“I can’t have Castro to my south and Abrams to my north, that would be a disaster,” he said, in reference to Cuba. “So I hope you guys take care of that and we’ll end up in good shape.”

Abrams lost to current Republican Gov. Brian kemp in 2018 in an election she still has not formally conceded.

“The governor was simply making an analogy to the stark ideological differences that underpinned the Cold War. If Stacey Abrams wins the governorship of Georgia, we know that her approach to leadership will involve more heavy-handed government, taxes, and bureaucrat influence. In Florida, Governor DeSantis will continue to keep Florida free and put citizens first,” a spokesperson for the Florida governor said to Newsweek.

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