Applying the Foreign Solicitation Ban Against the Russian Government Consistent with the First Amendment

One issue which has arisen over possible campaign finance charges against Donald Trump Jr. concerns whether the statute is substantially overbroad in violation of the First Amendment. Eugene Volokh makes the case here, and I argue against application of the substantial overbreath doctrine here. Eugene conjures up DREAMers or a foreign individual who wants to give dirt to Hillary Clinton on Donald Trump, as a way of arguing the statute is substantially overbroad. (I respond against the substantial overbreadth doctrine in the piece.)

But a reader points out an even easier way to avoid overbreath arguments.  The relevant statute says that a person cannot take a campaign contribution (including an in kind contribution) from a “foreign principal.”  It then references another statute which defines a “foreign principal” to include, among other things, “a government of a foreign country and a foreign political party.”

It seems to me that’s pretty narrowly tailored, even if applications to other “foreign principals” or “foreign nationals” that Eugene can dream up might not be.

The U.S. government’s compelling interest in stopping foreign influence must be at its zenith when things of value are coming from foreign governments,.

It’s a nice point.


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