Is this political donation legal?
July 23, 2011 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Is it legal for me to post a video to Youtube saying I will give a lot of money to a political party if a favored bill of mine becomes law?

Talking about the USA. I am a US citizen. I would give within the legal limits.
posted by blargerz to Law & Government (9 answers total)
Response by poster: Oh, and more importantly, is it legal to actually follow through on the "pledge"?
posted by blargerz at 7:36 PM on July 23, 2011

you have freedom of speech in the USA. You can say whatever you want unless you are causing harm or inciting others to cause harm.
posted by Kololo at 7:36 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

What on earth would be the problem with this?
posted by reeddavid at 7:38 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are you concerned that your offer could be perceived as a bribe? are you aware that you would need to give millions of dollars to multiple politicians to sway them to change their vote on the bill? Because otherwise it sounds like you are for some reason worried about creating a video about your intention to provide a political donation. Which seems fairly non controversial to me.
posted by Kololo at 7:43 PM on July 23, 2011

What you are asking is SOP. A lobbyist will talk with an elected official and explain why they think a certain bill is important and then have the folks they work for donate to that party. See the teacher's union and the hospital worker's unions as prime examples. Also, for balance see the NRA.

The only wrinkle you propose is to put a video on you tube pronouncing your intentions. If the money is going to a party and not to the bank account of said political hack, there is no issue.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:48 PM on July 23, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry if it sounds silly, but I thought there might be an issue (at least according to the letter of the law even if non-enforceable) in tying donations to specific outcomes. I know that in at least some states and maybe federally it is illegal to pay lobbyists on a contingency basis, so I thought that might apply to personal contributions to campaigns and/or parties.
posted by blargerz at 12:05 AM on July 24, 2011

Unless you work for a 501(c)(3), i.e. a nonprofit, the "attempting to influence legislation" rules regarding donations and speech do not apply to you.
posted by libertypie at 7:17 AM on July 24, 2011

You might be interested in reading over the federal bribery statute. Obviously, doing so is no substitute for competent legal advice, but it may help you understand what sorts of things are prohibited. (There may be other potentially relevant statutes, especially in the election laws, but I don't know enough about that to even know where to point you.)
posted by SuperNova at 11:09 AM on July 24, 2011

FEC Citizens' Guide.

If you are concerned about a specific question, you may request an advisory opinion.

Be aware that the law is currently in more flux than usual, and trending toward eliminating restrictions.
posted by dhartung at 1:41 PM on July 24, 2011

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