As an example, let's say a new law is currently discussed in US Congress that would boost the production of widgets if passed. Acme corporation makes a lot of widgets and wants the law to succeed. Would it be legal for Acme's CEO to publicly promise to donate $1 million in support of every Congress member who votes in favor of the law? Obviously there are limits to how much a corporation could give to a candidate but this can by side stepped by donating to a Super PAC which will run ads to support said candidate.

As a corollary, would it be legal to promise to donate $1 million to a Super PAC opposing the candidacy of every Congress member who votes against the law? So if the Republican Senator from Florida votes against widgets, Acme corporation vows to donate $1 million to the Democratic candidate for Senate in the next election cycle.

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    You don't have to do it publicly and that openly. The message would probably also understood it you just implied it, like saying that you have $1 million to spend and you really like widgets. Every politician will immediately make the connection. Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 7:22

1 Answer 1


Is it legal to publicly promise to make a donation in exchange for a politician voting a certain way?


Seriously that's basically the text book case of bribery:

(b) Whoever— (1) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official or person who has been selected to be a public official, or offers or promises any public official or any person who has been selected to be a public official to give anything of value to any other person or entity, with intent— (A) to influence any official act; or

  • Out of curiosity, could you give more background on which kind of law this is (criminal or civil law). How high the expected penalty could be. Maybe there have been famous cases of public bribery. Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 14:19
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    The word bribery is a link. Seems to be USC Title 18 which is the main criminal code of the federal government of the United States.
    – haxor789
    Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 14:32

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