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Contributions in the Name of Another are Strictly Prohibited

September 24, 2014

Reimbursing someone for a contribution or otherwise contributing in the name of another person can result in substantial civil penalties and jail time. 52 U.S.C. §§ 30122 and 30109 (formerly 2 U.S.C. §§ 441f and 437g). The FEC and the Department of Justice have prosecuted several such cases over the last few years. These violations sometimes occur when an individual who has already contributed up to the limit to a campaign gives money to another person to make a contribution to the same candidate. 11 CFR 110.4(b). In other cases, corporations have reimbursed employees for their personal contributions or have provided bonuses to employees with instructions to use the extra income to make contributions to a candidate, PAC or party committee. 11 CFR 114.5(b)(1). Organizations and individuals who engage in these types of reimbursement and employee bonus schemes can be penalized for making contributions in the name of another. Regardless of the circumstances, if your committee discovers that contributions that appeared to be legal when received were actually made illegally in the name of another, it must refund the money to the original source of funds if the identity of that source is known. Alternatively, your committee may disgorge the funds to the US Treasury or certain other recipients. For more information and instructions on how to disgorge the funds, see pages 33-34 of the Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates.