Those fake-name contributions to Obama: yes, they’re crimes

Not just wire fraud, but violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act.

In response to my query about whether the wingnuts submitting “Mickey Mouse” contributions on the Obama website are committing wire fraud, a lawyer-reader writes:

You are likely correct that the wingnuts could be charged under the wire fraud statute. Much more directly, however, such wignuts are violating the Federal Election Campaign Act (the statute amended by McCain-Feingold). 2 U.S.C. 441f provides in relevant part that: “No person shall make a contribution in the name of another person.” This provision carries criminal penalties.

I’m pretty sure “Osama Bin Laden” and “William Ayers” each qualify as “the name of another person.” Someone needs to file a complaint with the FEC.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com