'Millionaire's provision' triggered in D.A. race

Posted: May 14, 2009

A new $200,000 contribution from Philadelphia district-attorney candidate Dan McCaffery to his own campaign may change the contours of the six-way Democratic primary race in its final days.

Beginning immediately, the contribution limits for all candidates are double what they were, making them $5,200 for individuals and $21,200 for political committees and others.

That could give an edge to McCaffery, who has boasted of his endorsement by dozens of unions, many of them easily able to cut last-minute checks for thousands of dollars.

"This is good news for us, so now we are raising money and talking to voters," McCaffery spokesman Josh Morrow said yesterday.

McCaffery campaign staffers did not know the higher caps were in effect until they read an online Inquirer article yesterday afternoon stating that the Board of Ethics had determined that McCaffery's contribution triggered the "millionaire's provision."

Under that provision, the caps double if a candidate gives his campaign a total of $250,000 or more.

McCaffery gave $50,000 to his committee Dec. 31 and $200,000 Monday. Morrow said the campaign did not think the rule had been triggered because McCaffery had taken back $40,000 of his initial contribution.

Ethics Board executive director J. Shane Creamer said that didn't matter.

Candidates were formally told of the new caps - which will be in effect for the rest of 2009 - in an alert the board distributed.

This is only the second time the millionaire's rule has gone into effect. The first was during the 2007 mayor's race, when businessman Tom Knox gave his campaign $5 million, the largest single donation in city history.

Contact staff writer Marcia Gelbart at 215-854-2338 or mgelbart@phillynews.com.

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