In the Trump Jr. Case, Can “Dirt” on Hillary Clinton Be “Anything of Value”?

As I indicated in a blog post the other day, I think the foreign solicitation and coordination claims are credible.  The two big questions are knowledge it was a foreign source (now credible if last night’s New York Times story is correct) as well as if the information being provided counts as “anything of value” for purposes of the law. There is at least one Federal Election Commission advisory opinion from 1990 that polling data information could count as “anything of value:”

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).


(emphasis added).

So I think this merits further investigation.

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