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Jul 17 17 5:19 AM
Dave AAA wrote:ThePointblank wrote:
Courts have held that "thing of value" can also be something intangible:
You said that already. The regulations in place under the relevant legislation that describe prohibited activities seem to disagree. they are rather specific and inclusive as to what counts as far as the administration of the law is concerned.
Courts have held that "thing of value" can also be something intangible:
No, your authorized committee may not accept election materials used in previous Canadian campaigns that are provided without charge by Canadian third party candidates. Your authorized committee may, however, expend campaign funds to purchase the materials. You may also use personal funds to purchase such materials.As noted above, the Act and Commission regulations prohibit foreign nationals, directly or indirectly, from making a “contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal State, or local election.” 2 U.S.C. 441e(a)(1)(A); see also 11 CFR 110.20(b). “Anything of value” includes all in-kind contributions, including the provision of goods or services without charge or at a charge that is less than the usual and normal charge. See 11 CFR 100.52(d)(1). “Usual and normal charge” is defined as the price of goods in the market from which they ordinarily would have been purchased at the time of the contribution, or the commercially reasonable rate prevailing at the time the services were rendered. See 11 CFR 100.52(d)(2).Here, you propose accepting without charge, from Canadian third party and independent candidates, certain printed materials used in previous Canadian campaigns. The materials would include flyers, advertisements, door hangers, tri-folds, signs, and other printed material. You plan to use these items to assist you in your own campaign. Although the value of these materials may be nominal or difficult to ascertain, they have some value. The provision of these items without charge would relieve your campaign of the expense that it would otherwise incur to obtain such materials. Thus, the provision of such items without charge would constitute a contribution and, as such, would be prohibited, particularly in light of the broad scope of the prohibition on contributions from foreign nationals. See, e.g., 120 Cong. Rec. 8782 (Mar. 28, 1974) (statement of Sen. Bentsen, author of the amendment prohibiting foreign national contributions) (“I am saying that contributions by foreign nationals are wrong, and they have no place in the American political system.”); see also Explanation and Justification for Regulations on Contribution Limitations and Prohibitions, 67 Fed. Reg. 69940 (Nov. 19, 2002) (“As indicated by the title of section 303 of BCRA, “Strengthening Foreign Money Ban,” Congress amended 2 U.S.C. 441e to further delineate and expand the ban on contributions, donations, and other things of value by foreign nationals.”).The situation presented here is similar to that considered by the Commission in Advisory Opinion 1981-51 (Metzenbaum). In that opinion, the Commission concluded that the provision of an original work of art by a foreign national artist to a political committee for use by the committee in fundraising was a contribution and, hence, prohibited by 2 U.S.C. 441e. Similarly here, you plan to use the printed materials from previous Canadian campaigns to assist you in your own campaign. As such, their provision without charge by foreign nationals would constitute a prohibited in-kind contribution to your campaign. Nor may you solicit, accept, or receive such goods from foreign nationals. See 2 U.S.C. 441e(a)(2); 11 CFR 110.20(g) and (h). Your committee may, however, expend campaign funds to purchase such materials because such use of campaign funds would be an otherwise authorized expenditure in connection with your campaign for Federal office and would not constitute a conversion to personal use. See 2 U.S.C. 439a(a)(1); 11 CFR 113.2. You may also use personal funds to purchase such materials. See 11 CFR 110.10.
Jul 17 17 5:29 AM
IcelofAngeln wrote:And at what point did DJTJr "solicit" anything? It appears the Russians were doing the soliciting, and he turned them down.
Akhmetshin: oh, I gotta love the way the press are spinning the "former GRU officer" bit into hints and innuendo!
Actually, the presense of Akhmetshin provides complete confirmation of DJTJr's account, because the man's singleminded quest has been just what Junior says the meeting was about: repeal of the Magnitsky Act (the 2012 law which bars certain Russian officials from the US).
Jun 3, 2016, at 10:53, Donald Trump Jr. wrote:
Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?
Sent from my iPhone
Jul 17 17 5:35 AM
Jul 17 17 6:10 AM
Dave AAA wrote:Yes fundraising lists , because they can be used to make money, and printed materials, because they cost money are on the list in the regulations you cited. That's not in dispute. Information with no intrinsic monetary value is not on that list. Unless you can show an example or regulation that refers to something like that, your case is not made.
Mr. Hochberg commissioned this poll for his own potential candidacy and not on behalf of your campaign. Although Mr. Hochberg obviously will have knowledge of the polling information while he pursues his volunteer activities, Mr. Hochberg entered into the transaction with the pollster prior to working for your campaign and not in contemplation of working for your campaign. His receipt of the results was a completion of that transaction, rather than a receipt on behalf of your campaign. In such circumstances, Mr. Hochberg’s knowledge of the poll results by itself is not treated as a contribution of the poll and will not preclude his unpaid volunteer services to the campaign.
If, however, Mr. Hochberg imparts poll result information to you or anyone else working for your campaign, including any data or any analysis of the results, or if he uses the poll information to advise your campaign on matters such as campaign strategy or creating media messages, such poll information will constitute an in-kind contribution from Mr. Hochberg to your campaign, and an expenditure in an equal amount by your committee. 11 CFR 106.4(b). See also 11 CFR 104.13(a) and (b). The amount of such a contribution will be determined by calculating the share of the overall cost of the poll allocable to that particular information. Cf. 11 CFR 106.4(e). A determination as to the overall cost of the poll in its entirety will be premised upon the decreasing valuations presented in 11 CFR 106.4(g).
2. The information that the Trump campaign was seeking was only opposition research – information – and is not a “thing of value” within the election laws.This, too, is not sustainable on any reading of the applicable precedent. “Anything of value” means what it says – – anything of value. That is to say, it refers to whatever goods or services that a campaign acquires to advance its electoral objectives. Moreover, that’s precisely how the Federal Election Commission has read the term. Rick Hasen has come up with examples of the breadth of the Commission’s interpretation of the term “anything of value.” And that interpretation clearly covers information–opposition research.
A related argument advanced by Orin Kerr rests on the belief that only items that could be acquired in the marketplace, and for which there is a commercial equivalent, could constitute a “thing of value.” It is not clear what the argument is based on. Any thing of value seems to mean just that, and whether it was acquired legally, or could be purchased somewhere, doesn’t seem to have much bearing on whether it was beneficial to the campaign. Consider, for example, the regulatory definition of “anything of value”: For purposes of this section, the term anything of value includes all in-kind contributions. Unless specifically exempted…the provision of any goods or services without charge or at a charge that is less than the usual and normal charge for such goods or services is a contribution….If goods or services are provided at less than the usual and normal charge, the amount of the in-kind contribution is the difference between the usual and normal charge for the goods or services at the time of the contribution and the amount charged the political committee.
Note that anything of value includes all in-kind contributions unless explicitly exempted. No exemption appears anywhere in the law for an item for which the comparable commercial value is difficult to compute. It certainly matters whether an item is purchased in the market if it is provided at less than the market price. Then, and only in that case, does the market charge, as a more exacting inquiry, become relevant to the campaign finance analysis. The regulation draws a difference between those goods or services offered without charge, and those provided at a charge less than the usual and normal price. In the Trump campaign case, no one is arguing that the campaign sought or the Russians offered discounted services. They offered free services and, if delivered in the form of an opposition research packet, goods; and by definition they would have made a contribution
Commentators who doubt legal liability based on soliciting or accepting a “thing of value” also mistakenly find solace in the language in the three-judge district court decision in Bluman, affirmed by the Supreme Court. The court there referred to the prohibition on foreign national money in U.S. elections. Of course, it did. The case was only about money contributions that two foreign nationals proposed to make to candidates. The court never suggested–nor would the opinion be consistent with the notion–that the same foreign nationals could simply give something “in kind,” by purchasing goods or services and just providing them to their favored campaigns. At the very outset of the opinion, the court cites the full statute with its reference to a “thing of value,” and it does not at that point or elsewhere register any intention to read out of the law this category of campaign support
It is at any rate curious to think of a “thing of value” without linking it to the spending of money. For example, information does not typically materialize out of nowhere. Resources are needed to investigate, uncover, and compile “very high level and sensitive” information or “opposition research” of the type the Russians offered to supply the Trump campaign. Someone must find and compile it, and that person is usually on a payroll. The delivery of the material generates costs that have to be covered. We do not know whether the Russian lawyer who met with the Trump campaign team was paid for her time, but we do know that she flew to the U.S. from Moscow and had expenses, including lodging in New York. Someone paid those costs as well. Are those expenses and the funds paid to defray them somehow severable from the “information” she was delivering.
Finally, it is peculiar to argue that a campaign finance statute can be sensibly crafted without reaching any “thing of value.” The omission would make enforcement hard work, if not largely a joke. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the government’s authority to block “circumvention” of constitutionally imposed restrictions on campaign finance. On run-of-the-mill issues involving only US political actions, it is a standing regulatory preoccupation to spot and close the colloquial term for circumvention–the storied “loopholes.” Reformers always complain that not enough has been done to close them. Yet some commentators seem to assume that the foreign national ban can somehow serve its intended purpose–protecting the integrity of elections–even if it is sharply narrowed to apply only to the most conventional, straightforward forms of financial outlays.
For purposes of this section, the term anything of value includes all in-kind contributions. Unless specifically exempted…the provision of any goods or services without charge or at a charge that is less than the usual and normal charge for such goods or services is a contribution….If goods or services are provided at less than the usual and normal charge, the amount of the in-kind contribution is the difference between the usual and normal charge for the goods or services at the time of the contribution and the amount charged the political committee.
Jul 17 17 7:08 AM
Jul 17 17 7:11 AM
Jul 17 17 7:36 AM
Dave AAA wrote:As for Bauer's opinion, I would accept his authority if he were a disinterested party. As he is a Democratic Party apparatchik I don't value it at all.
Jul 17 17 7:40 AM
Jul 17 17 7:54 AM
Dave AAA wrote:And yours was an argument from authority. I reject your authority.
Jul 17 17 6:21 PM
Jul 17 17 7:02 PM
Jul 17 17 7:44 PM
Jul 18 17 6:46 AM
mhansen2 wrote:We could wait until all these investigations are over before drawing any conclusions - if they ever end. When might it be time to empanel grand juries?
Jul 18 17 12:48 PM
Jul 18 17 3:22 PM
IcelofAngeln wrote:Trump Jr. with conspiracy to solicit contributions from a foreign national... he took the meeting, of his own volition, knowing what he was being offered and under what circumstances the meeting was being held.
Yeah, the opinion from the Rachel Maddow School of Law.
Are you seriously claiming that accepting, or merely listening to a proffer, oppo research from a foreigner is a crime???
ThePointblank wrote:Information has value; courts have said that before in a criminal context, even if you can't immediately assign a monetary value to it.
ThePointblank wrote:IcelofAngeln wrote:Trump Jr. with conspiracy to solicit contributions from a foreign national... he took the meeting, of his own volition, knowing what he was being offered and under what circumstances the meeting was being held.
Yeah, the opinion from the Rachel Maddow School of Law.
Are you seriously claiming that accepting, or merely listening to a proffer, oppo research from a foreigner is a crime???Information has value; courts have said that before in a criminal context, even if you can't immediately assign a monetary value to it.
Someone was paid to gather the information, someone was paid to compile the information, and of course, the Russian lawyer's flight ticket, hotel room booking, and personal expenses to fly to New York has value.
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