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Kemp appeals ruling on leadership committee funds in primary

March 9, 2022 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that says a “leadership committee” the governor created under a new state law cannot spend money to get him reelected during the Republican primary.

U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen’s ruling came last month in a lawsuit filed by former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who’s challenging Kemp in the primary. Kemp and his leadership committee on Wednesday filed a notice of appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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The law, passed by state legislators last year and signed by Kemp, allows certain top elected officials, including the governor and party nominees, to create leadership committees that can raise campaign funds without limits, including during a legislative session. Just after the law took effect in July, Kemp created the Georgians First Leadership Committee.

Perdue and his campaign allege in the suit that the law gives Kemp an unfair fundraising and spending advantage in the primary. The lawsuit asked the judge to find the law unconstitutional. Perdue also asked the judge to block the new law while the litigation was pending.

Cohen issued an order granting a preliminary injunction that prohibits Georgians First from spending money to advocate for Kemp’s reelection or his opponent’s defeat during the primary and any primary runoff.

But the order said the leadership committee could continue to receive contributions and spend money in support of other public officials in accordance with campaign finance laws. The order also didn’t make unlawful any expenditures the committee had already made to support Kemp.