April 3, 2013 •
Judge tosses city limits due to a former candidate’s contribution to himself
The contributions limits in the upcoming Pittsburgh mayoral election have been removed by the courts. Judge Joseph James voided the city’s contribution limits because of one candidate’s decision to contribute his own money to his campaign.
Under city law, candidates may only accept $2,000 from individuals and $4,000 from PACs per covered election. However, if a candidate decides to use personal resources in excess of $50,000 for his or her campaign, then the contribution limitations are thrown out for all candidates in that specific race.
In this situation, Councilman Bill Peduto requested an injunction barring former state Auditor General Jack Wagner from using nearly $300,000 in contributions collected during previous campaigns. The judge ruled the use of the previous campaign funds to be a contribution, which would have exceeded the city’s contribution limits.
Wagner’s lawyers then turned their attention to Michael Lamb, the city controller who withdrew from the race earlier in the week. Lamb had given his campaign $53,000 of his own money, which voided the contribution limits and allowed Wagner to use the $300,000 in question. Lamb attempted to give $3,000 from the campaign back to himself in order to undo the contribution, but the judge ruled that the refund did not repair the breach.
The primary election for the mayoral office takes place on May 21, 2013 and the general election on November 5, 2013.
Photo of downtown Pittsburgh by Theeditor93 on Wikipedia.
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