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 2 U.S.C. § 441f, 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 small firm made donations to Democrats Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Harry Reid, and others. [4]


  1. ^ NewsOn6, The Associated Press, "Stipe Investigated In Alleged 'Straw Donor' Scheme,", Accessed 8/6/2008
  2. ^, Tony Thornton and Nolan Clay, "FBI says straw donors backed others,", Accessed 8/10/08
  3. ^ 2 U.S.C. § 441f
  4. ^