The real story — that makes this a BIG story — is just WHO is posing this question.
It’s written by Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission in 2006-7. And his read of the facts involved is that there WERE violations of Campaign finance law.
Considering the criminal prosecution of Dinesh D’Souza, added to the frenzied attention we’ve been seeing with both data-mining (this story involves ‘data’) the relentless hammering on election tampering, this could be a big deal.
Cambridge Analytica is the scapegoat these days, but there is a far more serious instance of data-sharing. And the company made by the world’s youngest Billionaire played a significant role in that.
But a more serious case of apparent misconduct involves Facebook data going to a different presidential campaign – this time in 2012. In this case, which is getting far less attention, Facebook reportedly voluntarily provided data on millions of its users to the re-election campaign of President Obama.
If true, such action by Facebook may constitute a major violation of federal campaign finance law as an illegal corporate campaign contribution. The matter should be investigated by the Federal Election Commission – an agency I am quite familiar with, because I served as one of its commissioners from 2006 to 2007. The commission enforces campaign finance laws for congressional and presidential elections.
A federal law bans corporations from making “direct or indirect” contributions to federal candidates. That ban extends beyond cash contributions to “any services, or anything of value.” In other words, corporations cannot provide federal candidates with free services of any kind. Under the Federal Election Commission’s regulations, “anything of value” includes any “in-kind contribution.”
For example, if a corporation decided to offer a presidential candidate free office space, that would violate federal law. Corporations can certainly offer their services, including office space, to federal campaigns. But the campaigns are required to pay the fair market value for such services or rental properties.
According to Carol Davidsen, the former media director for Obama for America, Facebook gave the 2012 Obama campaign direct access to the personal data of Facebook users in violation of its internal rules, making a special exception for the campaign. The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, reported that Davidsen said on Twitter March 18 that Facebook employees came to the campaign office and “were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.”
One more nail in the coffin of that ‘scandal-free’ presidency.
Whether or not Global Science Research and Cambridge Analytica violated any Facebook rules regarding this data is not the responsibility of the Trump campaign. From the standpoint of federal campaign finance law, the Trump campaign met its obligation to pay for and report this spending and did not violate the ban on corporate contributions.
However, whether or not the Obama campaign and Facebook violated this ban is an open question. It should be investigated by the Federal Election Commission and potentially the U.S. Department of Justice. The commission handles most routine violations of the law, which are civil matters. The Justice Department is responsible for investigating knowing and intentional violations of the law, which are criminal matters.
Although the statute of limitations may have already run out on this conduct by the Obama campaign, one thing seems certain: Carol Davidsen’s admissions should provide a sufficient basis for opening a federal investigation of what may have been a serious violation of the law by the Obama campaign.
Does your grandpa go off on paltry politicians, whether they be Democrats or Republicans? Does he get misty eyed when he talks about God and Country and America’s future? And have you ever heard him scream, ‘Awww … Hell no!’ when Rosie O’Donnell starts yapping on television? If you answered yes to one, or all of the above, then your gramps will love Doug Giles’ latest book, My Grandpa Is A Patriotic Badass.
Don’t be fooled by the title — this ain’t just for Grandpa.
The Snowflake Generation — and the rest of America — needs a good ol’ dose of ‘Grandpa wisdom’.
Especially if that Grandpa is Doug Giles.
You’ll love My Grandpa Is A Patriotic Badass just as much as Grandpa will.
What makes America so different from other nations? Other nations are built around regimes or systems. But America was built from on ideas. From a blank slate.
Built on ideas that are DANGEROUS to tyrants.
That we have God-Given Rights, like Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Dangerous ideas. Like this one: the people, when threatened, have a God-Given right to stand up in defiance of any government that dares threaten any of those rights.
There’s a men’s version…
And a women’s version, too…
Because in America, the bros AND the ladies BOTH have a rich history of badass rowdiness.