I may have to zip up my coat. :)
* * * * *
But now for the important bit -
Could this law send every Presidential candidate to Jail?
Per 18 U.S. Code §604, it is a federal crime to be “in any manner concerned in soliciting or receiving” any contributions “for any political purpose from any person” entitled to government relief.
That could mean any presidential candidate who takes money from any person receiving Social Security, student debt relief, welfare, or any other type of fund appropriated by Congress for “relief purposes” could be fined or imprisoned.
The term “solicits or receives or is in any manner concerned in soliciting or receiving” a contribution could even mean that a candidate for the presidency cannot campaign at a retirement community in Florida or Arizona. If any senior citizens receiving Social Security made a campaign contribution, that candidate could be locked up.
But 18 U.S. Code §604 has one saving grace: It requires a prosecutor to prove that “whoever … is in any manner concerned in soliciting or receiving” any “contribution for any political purpose” knows that the contributor is entitled to government relief.
As much as some might like for all the jabbering politicians to be carted away, it's not going to happen. That criminal intent provision would bring any proceedings to a halt as soon as the candidate said, "I didn't know."
Pity there's no such provision in most other laws. The article provides some examples; here's one.
Unfortunately, these criminal intent requirements are often absent in criminal legislation.
Thus, mistakes like getting lost in a blinding snowstorm ... make you a criminal.
Bobby Unser accidentally wandered into a national forest wilderness area [here in Alaska - Ed.] while trying to escape a snowstorm he was caught in while snowmobiling near his home. He was rescued after surviving 48 hours in sub-zero weather, with only snow to keep hydrated. Once home, he contacted the Forest Service to help him find his snowmobile, but wound up convicted of unlawful operation of a snowmobile within a national forest wilderness area—an offense punishable by 6 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Well, shucks. And here I thought we'd stumbled on a plan to prevent additional debates ...