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As Seen on TV

March 12, 2007

If you watched CBS's Without a Trace on March 11, you saw the FBI try to solve a missing Senator's disappearance by tracking her campaign finance transactions. You also saw the lead character state correctly that an individual cannot give $5 million to a Senate race (the actual limit is $2,300 per election). But then the character noted that the contributor got around the limits by giving bonuses to all his employees and then having them all make contributions. For the record, that's called a contribution in the name of another and it's illegal as well. In fact, criminal penalties and jail time can result when a contribution in the name of another is knowingly made or received. If your campaign becomes aware of a possibility that contributions it has received were possibly illegally made in the name of another, it should refund the money to the original source of funds, or disgorge the funds to the US Treasury.