Trying to understand how things other than direct cash donations can also be considered campaign contributions in the US, I've formulated the following scenario to explain the thing of potential value; money and resources spent which may benefit a campaign, but not a direct contribution.

If I spent my personal funds on an international trip based from the US, where I travelled from town to town in another country and simply talked to people, and for whatever reason this led to many people getting the idea that this would be a good time to start a caravan, and if the large size and timing of that caravan resulted in it becoming a rallying point in many campaigns in the US with a central coordinated theme or proponent, would my travel-related expenditures in the US (or perhaps abroad as well) qualify as a campaign contribution in the US at a state level in non-presidential years?

If I did it two years later before a presidential election, at the federal level as well?

  • I am not sure if "would this be a campaign contribution in the US" is on topic here or not, suggestions/comments welcome, thanks! – uhoh Oct 26 '18 at 0:31
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is hypothetical, which is discouraged. See politics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask – Burt_Harris Oct 26 '18 at 0:55
  • @Burt_Harris I can revise the question without the close voting, that's the idea behind my comment asking for suggestions/comments. Revision takes 5 minutes, the close/open takes a day, and participation by as many as ~ten other people. Closing/opening is the least efficient method in this case. But now that's it's been initiated, I'll wait for the helpful comments to decide the best way to revise. – uhoh Oct 26 '18 at 1:00
  • No problem, I will retract the close vote if it meets the help center guidelines. – Burt_Harris Oct 26 '18 at 1:06
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The condensed definition of campaign contribution from the Federal Elections Commission follows. I'll let you work out the hypothetical yourself.

A gift, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value given to influence a federal election; or the payment by any person of compensation for the personal services of another person if those services are rendered without charge to a political committee for any purpose.

For details see 11 CFR 100.52 and 100.54. For legal advice, get a lawyer.

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  • @uhoh, perhaps you can reword you question to be non-hypothetical based on my answer. – Burt_Harris Oct 27 '18 at 16:04
  • I believe there are close votes now (including yours) though I can't see how many. I'll wait for that to finish now, then decide if a rewrite makes sense. Right now the question is in limbo, it is better to do a major edit after the close process is finished (if ever) and the question is on hold and use the edit as justification for the reopen process, if I decide to do so. I think the phrase "get a lawyer" is edgier than you meant it to be? "I'll let you work out... yourself." as well? – uhoh Oct 27 '18 at 16:17
  • There are current 3 close votes. I think it takes 5 votes to put on hold. As I said before, you can fix the question potentially make it on-topic. – Burt_Harris Oct 27 '18 at 16:33
  • As to getting a lawyer - I am not one thus I'm not qualified to apply specific facts to a law. In some jurisdiction that might put me in legal jeopardy, practicing law without a license, which is for me a good reason to avoid hypothetical questions. – Burt_Harris Oct 27 '18 at 16:36

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