. . . it is illegal for any person to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with US election . . . --Ellen Weintraub, the FEC chair in reference to President Trump’s recent comments
Apparently Ms. Weintraub is asserting that speech is something of value, at least if President Trump listens to it. If speech/information is considered something of value, then can Americans violate campaign finance laws by speaking to candidates if the alleged value of the speech exceeds limits on contributions?
On the other hand, the Steele dossier is apparently not an issue even though it was assembled by a foreign (British) national and contains (dis)information that came from a foreign government (Russia). An argument is that that since Democrats paid for the information, it not a illegal campaign contribution.
To my knowledge Democrats paid Steele to assemble the document, but they did not pay Russian nationals for the actual information in the document. Does that mean that they received illegal foreign contributions from Russian citizens?
Is what Trump said about listening to information from foreign governments fine so long has his campaign pays market value for the information?
Or is free speech protected by the first amendment and does not constitute “something of value” as far as campaign finance laws?