UPDATE: Prompted by another RedCounty author, Publicola today (Wednesday) issued a correction, if not a retraction. As of 9:00 o’clock pm Wednesday evening, Tom Forbes had not even had the integrity to do that. Perhaps it is time for RedCounty to show the door to another of their writers before he causes more trouble for Chip Hanlon.
These articles allege that Katherine Serkes’s volunteer time with the Didier Campaign constitutes a “contribution” under Federal Election Law, and that the Didier Campaign has to calculate the in-kind value of her volunteer services and reporting it accordingly. However, it appears these allegations are totally FALSE. These allegations were no doubt created by the Murray campaign, but then blindly reproduced by Mr. Forbes on his redcounty website. The Federal Election Campaign Act provides a detailed definition of the term “contribution,” along with the various “exemptions” applicable thereto. (See 2 U.S.C. § 431 and 11 CFR §§ 100.51-100.94, linked here).
As relevant here, the Federal Election Campaign Act specifically excludes from the definition of “Contribution” the following:
“The value of services provided without compensation by any individual who volunteers on behalf of a candidate or political committee is not a contribution.”
2 U.S.C. § 431(8)(B)(i). Furthermore, FEC regulations further provide that
The value of services provided without compensation by any individual who volunteers on behalf of a candidate or political committee is not a contribution.
11 C.F.R. § 100.74. If you carefully read the Publicola article, it becomes clear that Publicola Reporter Josh Feit did NOT ask the FEC spokesperson whether volunteer services fall within the definition of “contribution” under the Act. Rather, Mr. Feit came to this conclusion on his own, which conclusion was then “reported” by Mr. Forbes.