Campaign laws and the first amendment

. . . 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?

It must be wild to think you have to jump through all these rhetorical hoops in order to defend a man who would toss you away without a second thought if he had an inkling it might benefit him in some way.

Do you really think that not just soliciting information from foreign intelligence that is hacking Americans is normal behavior that should be encouraged by the President of the United States?


Did the Steele dossier violate campaign finance law?

It was assembled by a British national, and the information it contains came from Russian nationals. Democrats certainly listened to it.

Why don’t you email the FEC

I would assume that charges would likely have been brought at this point had a law been violated as it has been public knowledge for years.

Do you believe the dossier is equivalent to shady dealings with foreign intelligence officials that involve information illegally hacked from Americans? I know there is some desperate need to pretend the two are the same or that the dossier was the only piece of evidence linking the Trump campaign to numerous instances of questionable behavior involving Russia, but that isn’t the case.

Great post. Didn’t answer the questions.

The Russians haven’t been proven to have done anything.

We have a thread on this by conan…

It’s like every thread devolves into the same 5 topics…

1 Like

Oh, sorry. I forgot the Trump line is that some 400lb guy in his mother’s basement did everything and that he believes Putin’s explanations, so therefore we should ignore the findings of a plethora of career investigators that say otherwise.

More like the same 5 words. Trump appreciates people attempting to live in his reality, though.

Same sort of rhetorical hoops Mueller went through before deciding that they were too far fetched to charge Trump Jr. You cannot criminalize receiving political information.

4 of them are Hillary

They don’t “say”, they “estimate”.

Actually the question about whether speech constitutes something of value for campaign finance laws is much broader than the issues related to Trump or Clinton campaigns.

For example, if a celebrity makes a statement in support or against a particular candidate, does that qualify as something of value?

Celebrity endorsements for commercial products or services are sold for millions of dollars. Should celebrity political statements treated as something of value that is subject to campaign contribution limits?

If a foreign national makes a statement of support or against a candidate does that constitute an illegal campaign contribution?

Are statements of support from foreigners okay if the campaign pays full market value for them?

My viewpoint is that treating speech as something of value interferes with first amendment rights. That is true for US citizens as well as foreign nationals.