Democrats Brace for Legal Fight in New York 20 with ‘Protection Fund’

Posted April 7, 2009 at 2:02pm

Democrats seem to be learning a lesson from the long-running legal battles over the 2008 Minnesota Senate race — the New York state party and Democratic candidate Scott Murphy responded to the whiff of legal conflict in New York’s 20th District special election by forming the New York Victory Protection Fund.

The fundraising committee will allow the Murphy campaign and the state party to jointly raise money for expenses incurred in the current ballot canvassing and counting process, as well as any legal fights that arise. Donors to the committee are not subject to aggregate limits, meaning a donor who already gave the maximum allowed to the Murphy campaign under federal limits can donate again to help with legal fees, up to the federal limit.

The Federal Election Commission ruled in March that the same is true for recount funds established by national party committees, in response to a request by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee regarding fundraising for the Minnesota recount. The two candidates in Minnesota — Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman — have spent millions on legal fees in the unresolved race.