The Hillary Clinton camp appears to have suffered an unexpected hiccup and its lawyers are trying to determine if campaign finance laws might significantly limit Clinton’s fundraising potential.
Hillary Clinton’s team has felt rather confident heading into its as-yet undeclared 2016 presidential campaign. Part of that confidence stems from having two of the world's best fundraisers — husband and former President Bill Clinton and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe — on her side.
But it's not all smooth sailing because lawyers have discovered campaign finance laws might heavily restrict the involvement of both men, sources say.
While a super PAC can legally raise an unlimited amount of money from donors, it cannot coordinate with the candidate or the campaign. Federal Election Commission rules allow candidates to speak at events hosted by super PACs but they are prohibited from soliciting unlimited checks. Family members of the candidate are also forbidden from soliciting checks.
This could mean Bill Clinton would be allowed to speak at events but would not be allowed to solicit big money from high-dollar donors.
McAuliffe faces his own distinctive problem.
Priorities USA Action, a super PAC pledged to support a Clinton candidacy with roots in the campaign for President Barack Obama, was starting to rely on the Virginia governor to improve its fundraising game, Politico reports.
While Virginia has weak laws when it comes to campaign finances, the state’s gift rules might be a problem.
Sitting governors are not allowed to accept certain gifts — flights, meals and concerts, to name a few. Because such gifts are at the center of fundraising, it raises some questions as to how successful McAuliffe can be.
The rule has proven to be problem in the past as Bob McDonnell, McAuliffe’s predecessor, was convicted of accepting gifts from a donor.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, none of these legal obstacles exist.
The Koch brothers and their associates have already pledged to spend close to a billion dollars on conservative candidates. They are allowed to pull that money from their own bank accounts without any restrictions.