campaign finance hypothetical
bkp2 at lehigh.edu
Sun Apr 27 18:16:12 PDT 2008
A friend posed the question below to me and I am passing it along to the
list for: (a) whatever feedback you could provide on the problem, and
(b) whatever distraction or opportunity for procrastination this
exercise may afford to you. Off-list replies directly to me are
probably best: bkp2 at lehigh.edu
Drink company sells products in stores and over its website.
Company wants to start selling a special kind of drink called ?campaign?
drink where, when you buy it over the website, you can choose to have a
portion of the proceeds go to the presidential candidate of your choice
(Obama/Clinton/McCain). How it would work is once the person is buying
their case, there would be a button they can click saying ?donate x
amount of dollars of this sale to the ?Obama? (or whatever) campaign.
The money, although collected by the drink company, would be forwarded
to the campaigns in the name of the individual.
Is this OK under campaign finance laws? Seems unlikely, but I
wanted to hear from others. Can the drink company gather the money and
then send it to the campaigns and still have it be a donation from the
individuals, and not from the drink company? What if the money went to
the DNC or RNC instead, would that be OK? My initial take is that the
?problem? here is that the company is taking the money in, so that it
isn?t a direct donation to the campaigns from the individuals. Do you
agree? Even if under the law the money is coming technically from the
company, is there is limit to the donations from companies to either
candidates or to the parties?
In the alternative, could the company on its website instead just
put links to the campaigns? donation websites? (I would think so).
Finally, the company wants to donate actual cases of its campaign drink
to the campaigns - is there some kind of limit on such gifts? (I would
think so). END OF QUESTION
Any feedback would be appreciated. Regards,
See THE CONSTITUTION OF ELECTORAL SPEECH LAW (Stanford, 2008)
Brian K. Pinaire, Ph.D.
9 W. Packer Ave.
Bethlehem, PA 18015
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