Understanding and Misunderstanding the Political Parties—and the Question of Whether They Understand Themselves

by - July 17, 2014

It is  not difficult to imagine how Lyndon Johnson would have reacted to the constraints of operating within a “network,” sharing his power with independent entities under mystifying rules.  Pity the lawyer who would have been charged with informing him of these limits:
Sir: you can’t have that conversation, because you will have satisfied the content and conduct prongs of FEC rules and will be engaged in illegal coordination.
No, Sir: you cannot ask Jackson to give more to the Jones campaign, but Jackson can give to Citizens for Law and Complexity, and Citizens can run ads for Jones, and you could always attend one of their events as an honored guest or featured speaker, provided that you make it clear that you are not asking for money.
No, Sir, you cannot ask Jackson to give money to Citizens.  No, not even if you put it that way: remember that a solicitation can be implied as well as expressed, indirect as well as direct, and it is still an illegal solicitation of soft money.
No, Sir, you cannot tell Citizens afterwards how much to spend for Jones or how: it is an independent expenditure, and as an “agent”  for Jones, you are prohibited from directing or advising on  their expenditure.
I know, I know: I am sorry, Sir: but please let go of my [body part]. That really hurts.

Source: Understanding and Misunderstanding the Political Parties—and the Question of Whether They Understand Themselves -Bob Bauer

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