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Why is Palin's shopping spree relevant?

Besides that it's fiscal madness and so far beyond the means of "Joe Six-Pack" that the McCain/Palin campaign cares so much about?

Well, there's the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act:



(1) IN GENERAL- A contribution or donation described in subsection (a) shall not be converted by any person to personal use.

(2) CONVERSION- For the purposes of paragraph (1), a contribution or donation shall be considered to be converted to personal use if the contribution or amount is used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate's election campaign or individual's duties as a holder of Federal office, including--

(A) a home mortgage, rent, or utility payment;
(B) a clothing purchase;
(C) a noncampaign-related automobile expense;
(D) a country club membership;
(E) a vacation or other noncampaign-related trip;
(F) a household food item;
(G) a tuition payment;
(H) admission to a sporting event, concert, theater, or other form of entertainment not associated with an election campaign; and
(I) dues, fees, and other payments to a health club or recreational facility.

So buying clothing is deemed a conversion for personal use and prohibited. It doesn't matter that Palin's giving it all to charity after this is over.

But wait, it's the RNC spending the money, not the McCain/Palin campaign!

Sec. 323

'(1) IN GENERAL- A national committee of a political party (including a national congressional campaign committee of a political party) may not solicit, receive, or direct to another person a contribution, donation, or transfer of funds or any other thing of value, or spend any funds, that are not subject to the limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements of this Act.

'(2) APPLICABILITY- The prohibition established by paragraph (1) applies to any such national committee, any officer or agent acting on behalf of such a national committee, and any entity that is directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained, or controlled by such a national committee.

Nope, they're subject too.

So the RNC and the McCain/Palin campaign are violating the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act? The same act that McCain uses to shore up his flagging "maverick" status? Sure looks like it.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 24th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
CNN had an interesting piece about this on their web site yesterday. It's so nice to see people taking an interest (snark). What I haven't see yet is the verbal gymnastics and contorted English from the GoP explaining why they think it's OK (or why they shouldn't be sanctioned in some way).
Oct. 24th, 2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
Aren't you just having a debate with howeird?! I suggest a death match: bovil vs. howeird. I will take photos.
Oct. 24th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
Oct. 24th, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC)
Naah, howeird and I are just snarking back and forth at each other.
Oct. 24th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
She bought costumes, not clothing. She would not have needed the costumes had she not been running for office. The fact that she is giving them up after the race is over shows that.

If she keeps them, you can sue.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 25th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
Having traveled through Alaska, I'm here to tell you it requires a totally different wardrobe.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 25th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
As i said to bovil, if she keeps the clothes, you can sue.
Oct. 25th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)
It doesn't matter if she keeps the clothes. Using campaign funds to buy any clothes with a value higher than what the law considers nominal value (designed to allow the campaigns to buy campaign t-shirts, for example) is by definition illegal conversion for personal use. The loophole you describe isn't there.
Oct. 25th, 2008 05:50 am (UTC)
I'm not sure about that - the language is "converted to personal use", not "aquired for personal use", which strikes me as meaning it's okay to buy stuff for use in the campaign as long as you don't make it your own after you hang up your rifle, park the plane and settle back into your comfy mansion.
Oct. 25th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
Uh, no. "Converted for personal use" usually means that you used something in a way that you shouldn't have. It's often applied to things where the person is trusted with property and uses it for themselves. Example: someone with authority over the petty cash box taking money out and using it for their own lunch. Yes, they were authorized to take money out, but they spent it on themselves, not on office stuff. Or, taking the office DVD player home...

It's often easier to convict for conversion since you don't have to prove that the taker wasn't planing to put it back. (That's why you'll sometimes see "unauthorized use of a vehicle" instead of "stolen".)

From http://dictionary.law.com/
"Conversion includes treating another's goods as one's own, holding onto such property which accidentally comes into the convertor's (taker's) hands, or purposely giving the impression the assets belong to him/her."
Oct. 25th, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
Conversion includes treating another's goods as one's own, holding onto such property which accidentally comes into the convertor's (taker's) hands, or purposely giving the impression the assets belong to him/her."

You've just reinforced my point. By declaring that the clothing is just for campign use, Palin is not claiming them as her own, or giving the imnpression they belong to her. Just the opposite.

Edited at 2008-10-25 03:13 pm (UTC)
Oct. 25th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
You're missing the point.

The act provides a list of expense types that are forbidden. It differentiates between forbidden personal auto expenses, travel expenses and event ticket expenses and allowed campaign expenses of the same type. It does not do so for clothing. It defines all clothing purchases as illegal conversion.
Oct. 25th, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
Using campaign funds for any of the listed expenses is illegal conversion. That's what the statute says.
Oct. 26th, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
Okay, got it. It's the campaign contribution which is being converted into something, not the item which is being bought with the campaign contribution. And yeah, re-reading the list, clothing doesn't have a qualifier.

But what about rent and utilities? They pay tons of that legitimately. Or is it just poorly worded and means home rent and home utilities? Yeah, this thing needed some more proofreading - D and I belong in the same line item.
Oct. 26th, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
I think it's just poorly worded and should be home rent and home utilities. The writers of the statute probably thought that it was implied well enough... clearly, it wasn't.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )