Posted by Rojas @ 11:29 am on April 27th 2008

Can he do this?

Lew Rockwell quotes the Houston Chronicle about a possible use of Ron Paul campaign donations:

To further Paul’s Libertarian-leaning agenda, his campaign is exploring a novel way to use millions of dollars in leftover donations: setting up a for-profit publishing company that would focus on free-market economics and personal liberties causes the Texas congressman holds dear.

I’m intensely curious over how this is even legal. Campaign donors make their pledges on the assumption that they are going to support a very particular cause; they are, in effect, purchasing a service from the candidate. As happy as I might be to see Dr. Paul starting a business, this would appear on its face to be fraud. In particular, it strikes me as illegitimate to start a for profit business with donated money without providing the donors with an ownership share. This wouldn’t cut it in Galt’s Gulch.

All this is, of course, to say nothing of the fact that apparently the campaign is in possession of millions of dollars in contributions that were not spent when it might have made a difference.

My fear is that this sort of thing is going to wreck future fundraising for Paul-esque candidates.

2 Comments »

  1. It doesn’t seem like he should be able to do this as his donors didn’t give him that money to start his own company. But I don’t think I’ve heard much about campaign finance reform that focuses on the actual use of finances donated to a candidate.

    I remember thinking that it shouldn’t be legal for Gov. Deval Patrick to use his campaign fund to pay the legal fees he accrued from an ethics investigation, but it was. Of course, I’m not sure about how much of that is state law, but I don’t think he’s the only one who’s done it.

    Comment by Liz — 4/27/2008 @ 2:12 pm

  2. I wonder if they’re not exploiting a similar loophole the blimp guys found, whereby it being for-profit changes the rules of the game. Although for the blimp guys that simply meant not taking donations at all, but people “buying in” to the blimp.

    Although on reflection that wouldn’t really make any sense in this case, so yeah, I haven’t the slightest idea how this would be legal. I’d be real real interested to see how they’d manage it if they went past the “exploring” stage.

    Comment by Brad — 4/27/2008 @ 4:01 pm

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