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View Diary: In Friday news dump, McConnell's campaign manager resigns over ties to Ron Paul bribe scandal (40 comments)

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  •  What is the underlying crime here? (0+ / 0-)

    According to one of the linked articles, "On Wednesday, former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty to accepting $73,000 from Paul's campaign in exchange for his endorsement and to obstruction of justice for lying about his involvement."

    Why is it a crime to give someone money to endorse? What is the crime? Usually it is legal to give money to someone in order to induce them to say something.

    •  But we're talking politics here, (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PeterHug, Chas 981, bluenick, MichaelNY, JVolvo

      not product endorsement and this isn't like paying a celebrity to endorse a shampoo.  

      Sorenson was a state senator and he took a personal payment of $73k to endorse a political candidate.  In general, politicians and public employees are tightly restricted on what they can accept payment for, or gifts.

      In essence, Sorenson took a bribe to jump ship.  That's a no-no for a public official.

      •  So you're saying that I could take a fee (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for endorsing, but a state senator can't?

        •  Probably (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'm not totally savvy as to the law re: political endorsements specifically.  But as a private individual, I would expect you probably could.  If you were on the public payroll, especially a politician on the public payroll, no.

          However, I know elected officials and public employees generally operate under some pretty tight regulations.  As a public employee myself, in the same state as Sorenson, for example, I cannot accept a non-monetary gift valued at more than three dollars from someone (with some exemptions like family members).  A school coach could not accept a free t-shirt from a sports equipment company for the same reason (again, with certain exemptions).  In other words, if we were to meet for breakfast, you technically could not buy me  breakfast and depending on where, you probably couldn't even buy me a cup of coffee. Restrictions on taking cash payments for something are equally tight.

          $73k is a pretty tidy sum of money and certainly more than $3, and it was given with the expectation that Sorenson would endorse the candidate giving the money.  And this wasn't done as a campaign donation, this was a check made out to Sorenson himself.

          This sort of thing becomes germane with elected officials because we don't want our elected officials to just be endorsing the highest bidder for their support, any more than we want them voting to approve the company that writes them a $100k personal check.

          Look at it this way -- how is a politician peddling their endorsement for a cash payment to the highest bidder any different than a politician taking personal cash payments to vote for or against a given bill?

    •  From David's 2nd link ("pleaded guilty") (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Witgren, MichaelNY

      Lying about campaign money is bad, mmkay?

      In public statements when he switched campaigns, Sorenson said he was not being paid. He also provided false testimony to an independent investigator about the payments "in part to obstruct investigations that he anticipated by the FBI and FEC," according to the Department of Justice.

      He pleaded guilty to one count of causing a federal campaign committee to falsely report its expenditures to the FEC and one count of obstruction of justice.

      Sorenson, who awaits sentencing, could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the first count and 20 years in prison and another $250,000 fine for the second.

      "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition /= GTFO" Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon + JVolvo

      by JVolvo on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:05:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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