It is a federal crime to knowingly create and submit false campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission. Typically, the Government charges the filing of a false campaign disclosure form as being a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which is a general statute that prohibits filing materially false statements within the jurisdiction of any federal agency. Although 18 U.S.C. § 1001 is a charge that can be filed in connection with knowingly filing false campaign disclosure forms with the Federal Election Commission, the typical charge that is brought in these cases is an alleged violation of 2 U.S.C. § 441(a), the Federal Election Statute. This statute makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully accept and/or receive contributions in excess of the limits of the Election Act. If two or more persons conspire to violate this law, another prosecutor’s preferred charge is to allege a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, the general conspiracy statute.
Money Laundering Implications
Our firm has been involved in federal prosecutions for violation of state campaign disclosure laws where federal monies or federal grants were implicated. There are a variety of tools at the disposal of a prosecutor in such cases but the main creative tool employed here is the money laundering statute. This statute, found at Title 18 U.S.C. § 1957, prohibits spending in excess of $10,000.00 where the source of the funds cannot be determined from the face of the financial transactions. The creative use of money orders or even cash deposits designed to conceal the identity of the owner of the funds can likely be used as a creative prosecutor’s tool in campaign finance prosecutions.
Concealment / Conspiracy Charges
Most cases involving campaign financial disclosure laws are cases brought where there has been a conspiracy to conceal the amount of donations and/or the identity of the donors, particularly where large amounts of monies in excess of spending limits are involved. Thus, most federal prosecutions in this area are predicated upon the general conspiracy provision found at 18 U.S.C. § 371, the false statements provisions found at 18 U.S.C. § 1001 and the specific illegal campaign excessive spending violations found at 2 U.S.C. § 1446.
Please Contact Us for a Free Initial Consultation
Finch McCranie has experience representing persons involved in federal criminal investigations for alleged campaign disclosure violations. Such cases typically are serious matters involving significant financial penalties and possible jail time in the event of a conviction. Please contact us today for a free initial consultation.