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Friday, January 30, 2004

Candidate Loan Limits Face Legal Battle in Kentucky
Just days after a California state court ruled that Arnold Schwarzenegger's multimillion dollar loans to his campaign violated California campaign finance law, the Kentucky Attorney General announced that he will appeal a recent ruling by the Sixth Circuit federal court of appeals that struck down a similar law in Kentucky. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that geneticist's law was passed after both Democrat and Republican candidates for governor made multi-million dollar loans to their campaigns in 1988.

One concern with these loans is that elected officials could in-effect be bribed with contributions that repay the loans to themselves. But the deeper concern is that very few citizens can afford to give themselves multi-million dollar loans in the first place. If we have a campaign system that requires you to be able to fund your own campaign, either with loans or outright contributions, we'll a campaign system where very few honest regular folks could ever run for office in the first place. The real solution would be to set mandatory limits on a candidates total spending, whether it comes from personal wealth or from money they raise from others. But, until then, setting limits on loans is a small step toward leveling the playing field.

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