The Federal Election Act limits the amount a person may contribute to any candidate for federal elected office to limit the influence any one person may have on the outcome of a federal election. The act established that the most one individual could contribute for the 2008 presidential primary election was $2,300.
The government contends that the act’s contribution limit applies to anything of value provided for the purpose of influencing a federal election, including contributions to a candidate and his campaign; expenditures made in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate or his campaign; and payments for personal expenses of a candidate unless those payments would have been made irrespective of his/her candidacy.
According to the indictment, the payments at issue were in fact used to facilitate Mr. Edwards‘ extramarital affair, and to conceal it and the resulting pregnancy from the public.
The indictment alleges that the funds were used to pay for the living and medical expenses of Mr. Edwards‘ mistress and to pay for the travel and accommodations necessary to hide her from the news media and the public.
If convicted, Mr. Edwards faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy charge. He faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of accepting and receiving illegal campaign contributions, and a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the charge of concealing the alleged illegal donations.
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Jerry Seper is the investigative editor for The Washington Times.
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