I have written this piece for Slate. It begins:
Why didn’t Special Counsel Robert Mueller charge self-proclaimed dirty trickster Roger Stone with violating campaign finance laws? And what does this say about Donald Trump Jr.’s potential exposure for his Trump Tower meeting with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton?…
To Common Cause’s Paul S. Ryan, the indictment, if true, is enough to show Stone and the Trump campaign in a conspiracy to violate federal law against soliciting contributions from a foreign national. Federal law makes it a potential crime for any person to “solicit” (that is, expressly or impliedly ask for) the contribution of “anything of value” from a foreign citizen. And as Ryan points out, opposition research is valuable and can count as a campaign contribution.
If this issue sounds familiar, that’s because it’s also relevant to the meeting with Russian officials in Trump Tower who were offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. As I explained in Slatein July 2017, that meeting could have violated the prohibition on soliciting a contribution from foreign nationals.
So why did Mueller not charge Stone with violating campaign finance laws along with the other charges in the indictment? We don’t know for sure, but there are a few possibilities.