Clothing Budgets and International Contributions

Article excerpt

Q: Can we reimburse the candidate for a tie he bought at the last minute for a televised debate?

A: No--that would be either illegal or stupid. In federal races, using campaign funds to buy clothing is a violation of the prohibition on personal use of campaign funds. In non-federal races, whether it's legal or not, it is definitely bad form. That's especially the case now given a weak economy and so many voters convinced that politicians are arrogant, out of touch and on the take.

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Q: I serve in the armed services. What do I need to do to vote absentee and how can I find out where my "legal voting residence" is?

A: The Federal Voting Assistance Program (www.fvap.gov) is the best place for quick and easy answers, whether you are a uniformed service member, family member or any U.S. citizen living outside the country during an election. For voting purposes, "legal voting residence" can be the state or territory where you last resided prior to entering military service or the state or territory that you have since claimed as your legal residence. Uniformed service members and family members may change their legal residence whenever they change permanent duty stations, or they may retain their legal residence without change. (Note: This could mean that enlisted personnel could have a different legal voting residence from their family members). You and other members of the armed services should consult with a Judge Advocate General officer or legal counsel before changing your legal residence since there are factors other than voting that are affected by residency decisions.

Q: I'm an international businessman, not a political operative, lobbyist or politician. I'm just someone interested in making a difference in one specific election. I have collected negative information with regard to one candidate and I'm looking for help in establishing and funding a 527 that will allow voters the opportunity to know the truth about the candidate I oppose. …