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(For US Federal election law only) If someone were to give me a sum of money, and direct me to donate it to congressmen that voted a certain way, would I be able to donate it on their behalf (i.e. in their name)? Would I need power of attorney to do so? Or could I otherwise get authorization to act as an agent?

  • I don't understand this question. Why would you need any formal authority to forward money for someone? – feetwet Mar 31 '17 at 20:30
  • @feetwet Because there are campaign contribution limits. – ohwilleke Apr 1 '17 at 0:14
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Campaign contribution laws require that the donor of campaign funds be disclosed and in some cases with dollar caps on contributions per person.

Now, if you are actually donating their money in their name, you really aren't doing anything different than a bank is in taking money of the account of a checking account owner and giving it to the recipient.

I don't see an obvious reason that you would have to have a power of attorney in writing to have the authority to do so, which could probably be granted orally, but you might still want something in writing documenting the transaction so that you wouldn't be wrongfully convicted of making a donation of your own money in someone else's name or at your direction rather than the direction of the true donor, which would be illegal.

It isn't clear, however, why someone would want to set up the transaction that way.

  • Maybe because a company or other non-natural person needs a person do do stuff for it? – Dale M Apr 1 '17 at 4:23
  • To clarify: essentially, this would be a service to facilitate campaign contributions based on a set of criteria that the individual natural person would stipulate to the service provider. The service itself would be agnostic in terms of issues or party (i.e. designed NOT to be a political action committee). By making donations as an agent or fiduciary or whatever the term may be, it would not be subject to contribution limits of a PAC, since it is acting at the direction of each particular individual, and would adhere to the the cap´ limitations that everyone has mentioned here. – chipmunkrumblestud Apr 2 '17 at 4:38
  • But the answer would be best if the "something in writing" was clarified. What type of legal authorization would the individual need to grant to the service provider? – chipmunkrumblestud Apr 2 '17 at 4:41
  • @chipmunkrumblestud The notion would be that "legal authorization" isn't the point. The point is evidence of the nature of transaction. Form wouldn't be terribly important. However, realistically, it might call for a more exacting review of the FEC regulations and definitions to be sure. – ohwilleke Apr 2 '17 at 15:47

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