The onus, in solicitation cases, appears to fall on the solicitor, rather than the donor. Cantor's donation upset Republican House members who have either faced or are concerned about facing CPA in the future, but by asking for that specific amount of cash, Schock may have run afoul of the FEC's limit on solicitations to super PACs by a federal candidate or officeholder. A Schock spokesperson would not specifically address the episode in question, but said that Schock double-checked his legal standing before getting involved with CPA. "We vetted this contribution through an attorney specializing in FEC compliance and the giving and soliciting of hard money was deemed perfectly legal," the spokesperson said. That is true, up to a point; the contribution is certainly legal (an individual or group can give any amount to a super PAC). The question centers, however, on the solicitation, and whether Schock overstepped legal boundaries in asking for such a large contribution. No federal officeholder has been accused of violating the letter of the advisory opinion yet, and the dysfunction at the FEC -- where partisan feuds between the three Democrats and three Republicans have virtually ground the commission to a halt -- make it unlikely Schock will be punished any time soon. But the case highlights the delicate dance federal candidates face at a time when campaign finance law is changing so rapidly. Until the commission rules more definitively, expect more of these types of apparent violations to trip some candidates up.
Aaron Schock and the FEC: A Case Study of the Super PAC Era
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