May 28, 2004

Penalty for Private Spending by Presidential Candidates During General Election

Following up on this post and particularly on Trevor Potter's reply, a blog reader writes:

    Trevor says, "The FEC audits all publicly funded Presidential campaigns, and this issue has come up in those audits with some frequency, with a repayment of public funds required where such prepayment has occurred."

    Am I all that wrong to interpret that as meaning that you can't pre-"pay" the expenses, but for all practical purposes you can LOAN your campaign the money from the funds raised before the convention? After all, that's what a loan is, money given to you when you need it, that you have to pay back later.

    It's a question I've often wondered about: When the penalty for accepting an illegal donation is to return it, generally long after the urgent need for the money has passed, how's that different from a loan? Do they require that you pay back extra, so that it's at least not an interest free loan?

Posted by Rick Hasen at May 28, 2004 02:00 PM