Soon-to-be former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) may have violated Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules at her concession speech due to an in-kind donation she apparently received from a former TV executive who advises the January 6 Committee.
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny reported earlier Tuesday evening that Cheney’s anticipated losing speech would be set against a dramatic backdrop and filmed by James Goldston, the former ABC News president who is also advising the January 6 Committee.
Anyone who films a candidate may generally do so, under the protections of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, if the film crew is producing a video especially for a candidate, that counts as a service provided to the campaign.
Goldston’s services, including his crew, are probably worth tens of thousands of dollars. Moreover, Zeleny reported that Goldston is filming Cheney as a favor — as a “friend.” Hence his contribution would be an in-kind contribution to Cheney.
The FEC rules on in-kind contributions provide:
An in-kind contribution is a non-monetary contribution. Goods or services offered free or at less than the usual charge result in an in-kind contribution. Similarly, when a person or entity pays for services on the committee’s behalf, the payment is an in-kind contribution. An expenditure made by any person or entity in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate’s campaign is also considered an in-kind contribution to the candidate.
The value of an in-kind contribution—the usual and normal charge—counts against the contribution limit as a gift of money does. Additionally, like any other contribution, in-kind contributions count against the contributor’s limit for the next election, unless they are otherwise designated.
Moreover, the current limit on contributions is $2,900 per cycle.
Hence not only would Goldston’s services have to be reported to the FEC on Cheney’s campaign filings, but they also likely exceed the campaign finance limits. She could face an investigation and fines from the FEC if she is found to be in violation.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.