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I want to contribute to a federal candidate.

I don't want to disclose any of my contact information to them in doing so.

I've confirmed that my bank's electronic bill-pay sends a check with only my first and last name and optionally a memo, which is fine I just don't ever want future fundraising communications.

The FEC suggest ≤ $50 in greenbacks is legal, and that campaigns must report contributions > $200. My question is can I contribute $200 using the above method, maybe citing "Campaign name-and-year / 11 CFR 104.3" in the memo and be confident in its legality?

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    I'm guessing that this is the United States, as you link to the US FEC. If not correct, please tag with the correct country. – Brythan Nov 17 '16 at 15:34
  • In the absence of an answer here (give it a couple of days), you could try to contact that candidate staff to ask for instructions, I would bet they will be happy to help (at least as long as you donate :-D)... If you do, it would be nice if you answered the question yourself for other people who could be interested. – SJuan76 Nov 17 '16 at 22:47
  • Thanks @SJuan76, I did contact the campaign just before posting here, but the representative I spoke with didn't have that info (it was the main number). I was given an email to follow-up on but I'm not quite ready to act on that yet. – Nathan Witt Nov 18 '16 at 2:16
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The majority of the burden for record keeping falls on the campaign committee, under the auspices of the campaign treasurer, but the ultimate responsibility is with the candidate and the donor.

You, as a citizen, are restricted in the amount you can provide. By the FEC's own rulebook, the committee must use its best efforts to source the gift:

If you contribute more than $200 to a committee, the committee is required to use its best efforts to collect and publicly disclose on a financial report your name, address, occupation and employer, as well as the date and amount of your contribution. Committees sometimes request this information even for smaller contributions, since the $200 reporting threshold applies to your total contributions to one committee during a calendar year. For example, you may make several small contributions to a committee during a year. Once these contributions add up to over $200, the committee must report the contributor information.

Often, it is simply safer to not accept (or return) money that could not be properly sourced. Imagine you were a foreign national, federal contractor, or a minor: all prohibited from donating. The obscured donation comes in, the committee cashes the checks and moves on, and then nine months later a story comes about about fraudulent campaign donations in violation of FEC law.

The small loss in donations is generally nothing compared to the liability of accepting donations from potentially illegal channels. Further, allowing for donations and not bothering to ask identifying information certainly does not meet the bar of "best efforts to collect" information.

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