The New York Post reports that Rosie O’Donnell allegedly made illegal campaign donations to at least five Democratic candidates by donating more than legally allowed. However, the celebrity claims that she did not do so purposefully and called for a refund of any money over the legal limit.
From the New York Post:
“Nothing nefarious,” the outspoken star and Donald Trump arch-nemesis wrote in an email to the Post. “I was not choosing to over donate.
“If 2700 is the cut off — [candidates] should refund the money,” she wrote. “I don’t look to see who I can donate most to … I just donate assuming they do not accept what is over the limit.”
O’Donnell said she donates often, and uses the online liberal fundraising platform ActBlue. “My anxiety is quelled by donating to those opposing trump [and] his agenda — especially at night — when most of these were placed.”
According to the Post, Alabama Senator Doug Jones refused to return comment on the $4700 donation given by O’Donnell. However, Pennsylvania Rep. Connor Lamb reportedly received a $3600 donation from O’Donnell. He has agreed to either return the $900 or, if she wants, use it towards his primary.
This type of rule breaking is fairly common place amongst campaigns. Rarely are donors ever held responsible for over donating nor are campaigns are not fined either.
“Donors are rarely fined for excess contributions and then only if they are hiding the donations from the recipients,” prominent D.C. campaign finance lawyer Jan Witold Baran told the Post. “Campaigns generally are not penalized for isolated contributions over a limit. However, multiple excessive donations may lead to an investigation … Fines could result in such cases.”
This begs the question why do we even have these laws on the books if they are not strictly enforced? If Rosie (or anybody) is choosing to donate arbitrary amounts of money to these candidates, shouldn't campaigns be held accountable for illegally accepting more money than they are allowed?