Straw donor

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A straw donor is a person who illegally uses another person's money to make a political contribution in their own name.[1]

United States[edit]

In the United States, making a political contribution in another person's name is illegal, as is agreeing to be the named donor with someone else's money.[2] For example, a straw donor may contribute to a political campaign before being reimbursed by another, who is using that person as a conduit to exceed the limits on campaign contributions under the laws of a jurisdiction.

In federal elections in the United States, straw donor schemes are illegal under 52 U.S.C. § 30122, which states:

No person shall make a contribution in the name of another person or knowingly permit his name to be used to effect such a contribution, and no person shall knowingly accept a contribution made by one person in the name of another person.[3]

This section was enacted as part of the Federal Election Campaign Act in 1971.

Massachusetts 2016[edit]

A Massachusetts law firm, Thornton Law, has been accused of funneling funds to the Democrats through a massive and illegal straw-donor scheme.

Law firm partners donated nearly $1.6 million to mostly Democratic candidates and committees between 2010 through 2014. They were reimbursed ten days later $1.4 million listed as bonuses, including more than 280 in amounts that precisely matched their donations.

The case was closed without any prosecution. “While our investigation did not find sufficient evidence to support a criminal charge, we are recommending enhancements to current state campaign finance laws to address the ambiguities in the law that gave rise to these allegations,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said.

The small firm made donations to Democrats Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Harry Reid, and others. [4]

Dinesh D'Souza[edit]

In 2014, Dinesh D'Souza, an outspoken political commentator, author, and filmmaker was charged and convicted for reimbursing others $20,000 for donations to 2012 Senate candidate Wendy Long, a New York Republican. [5]. President Trump pardoned D'Souza May 31, 2018.

Jeffrey E. Thompson[edit]

In 2016, Jeffrey E. Thompson, was sentenced to three months in prison, 3 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine for the illegal funding through straw donors of several political candidates, including Hilary Clinton in her 2008 presidential bid and Vincent Gray in his 2010 run for mayor of Washington, D.C. [6]