David Perdue Sues to Halt Law That Gives Gov. Brian Kemp Power to Raise 'Unlimited' Funds

David Perdue and his campaign are challenging a new Georgia state law that he says gives Governor Brian Kemp an unfair advantage in campaign fundraising and spending in the upcoming Republican primary.

The law allows for specific elected officials, including the governor, to create "leadership committees," allowing them to raise an unlimited amount of money for campaign funds, bypassing the state's limits.

Georgia law does not allow candidates running for state offices to accept more than $7,600 from one donor in a primary or general election and no more than $4,500 in a runoff election.

"When he thought no one was watching, Kemp gave himself power to raise unlimited campaign funds, while challengers have to play by different rules," Perdue tweeted on Friday.

Perdue and his campaign filed a federal lawsuit asking a judge to declare the law unconstitutional, saying it infringes on his right to free speech and equal protection.

Perdue also filed a motion asking a judge to prevent Kemp from using his leadership committee funds and fundraising while the lawsuit is pending. So far, Kemp has spent more than $1 million in ads attacking Perdue, according to the lawsuit.

The new law also allows for the "leadership committees" to raise money during a legislative session, which otherwise is not allowed.

"Only a 20-year career politician like Kemp would create an unfair advantage for his own self-preservation," Perdue tweeted.

David Perdue Challenging State Law
David Perdue and his campaign for Georgia governor are challenging a new law that allows campaign spending advantages for certain elected officials. Above, then-Senator David Purdue speaks to supporters during a Defend the Majority rally at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agriculture Center on November 19, 2020, in Perry, Georgia. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

The new law allows for leadership committees controlled by the governor, lieutenant governor, a political party's nominee for governor or lieutenant governor, and by the Republican and Democratic caucuses in the state House and Senate.

Kemp's campaign created the Georgians First Leadership Committee in July, just after the law took effect.

The new law has allowed Kemp to create "a de facto second campaign committee" that disadvantages Perdue, the lawsuit says.

Kemp committee spokesman Cody Hall said, "David Perdue's record of shady stock deals makes clear that he really doesn't like playing by the rules, so this laughable lawsuit shouldn't surprise anyone."

The new law was generally supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats. Democrats argued the legislation would increase the influence of money interests in Georgia politics since leadership committees can accept contributions during the legislative session, unlike state elected officials.

State Senator Elena Parent, Democratic Caucus chair, tweeted Thursday: "One thing I agree with Perdue on: the corrupt 'leadership committee' slush fund law is bad."

The lawsuit asks a judge to declare the new law unconstitutional and to prohibit any activity by a gubernatorial leadership committee established under the law. It also asks the judge to order the state Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission to revoke Kemp's committee's registration, order the refunding of all contributions made to it and to prohibit it from spending money to support Kemp's re-election.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.