Is it typical for someone to be arrested over $20k violation of campaign finance laws?

A US citizen was recently arrested, the charges being over illegally donating $20,000 to a Senate campaign (note that the campaign finance limit is $2,700 as per FEC)

He/his defense asserted that the prosecution was politically motivated.

Obviously, there's no direct evidence to either confirm or deny the motivation, absent some future leaks.

However, one thing that could lend credence to either side of the argument, is whether it's typical for someone to be prosecuted and arrested, over donating (not accepting) the amount being discussed ($20,000), absent other things involved like bribery/corruption (which was not alleged in this case).

How typical is it for someone to be arrested over $20k violation of campaign finance laws?

I'm looking for an answer that either shows some statistics that similar sized violations did/didn't result in prosecution and especially arrest; or specific statements by justice officials speaking about the topic in general

  • I kind of doubt that any of the statistics will be as granular as you are looking for. Feb 11, 2017 at 2:31
  • You might try looking at the annual report of the FEC, or at statistics in the Administrative Office of the Courts (which would probably list this in the "other" category), or in the annual report of the division of the Justice Department that handled to prosecution.
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 11, 2017 at 3:08
  • According to David Mason, a former FEC commissioner, it is not. However, it might also be related to the case you are talking about. newsmax.com/Newsfront/DSouza-prosecution-senseless-campaign/… Feb 11, 2017 at 17:52
  • @AlonzoMuncy - i'd prefer independent evidence not linked to D'Souza case, specifically because I want to evaluate the evidence in context of D'Souza case, but without being potentially tainted by being biased because of that case. But frankly, this link is good enough to make an upvotable answer.
    – user4012
    Feb 12, 2017 at 0:30
  • 2
    Arrested or eventually charged/convicted? I'll do more digging, but I'd guess arrests are not all that uncommon, since those over the limit violations are often, potentially, part of a more extensive scheme to launder funds to certain candidates or causes. The initial arrest may just be an attempt to get someone to try and turn on any organizers/facilitators in the actual campaigns or political parties. My recollection of actual charges and pleas or convictions is that it is usually a lesser offense or sentence that goes on the books. Feb 14, 2017 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


There may be some reason to think that charges like this are unusual. David Mason, a former FEC commissioner, noted

I don't know why or how his case even came to the prosecutor's attention, because in the world of campaign finance this is very small, and it's completely insignificant, So how, why this particular case came up and the prosecutor decided to pursue it, I don't know.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .