The Vice President and SEC’s Pay to Play Rule

Now that the Democratic and Republican conventions have ended and the presidential tickets are final, we can look at how the SEC’s new rule on political contributions will affect the November election. It won’t.

Early in the Republican contest for the nomination, Rick Perry was on the watch list under Rule 206(4)-5. Since he could directly or indirectly control several state pension funds in the State of Texas, contributions to Governor Perry would be subject to the rule. That means limiting contributions to $350.

It’s clear how the rule worked for Presidential nominees. It was not clear to me how the rule would work with the vice presidential candidates. The office itself does not control a government pension fund. But you need to look to the candidates current office as well under the Rule.

If Mr. Romney had selected a sitting governor, such as New Jersey’s Chris Christie, the SEC rule would have limited political contributions to the Republican ticket. In most states, Governors appoint board members for the state pension funds. It’s not clear whether that nomination would have tainted past contributions to the Republican campaign.

With Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, we don’t have to look for the answer yet. Mr. Ryan is an incumbent U.S. Congressman and is not associated with selecting advisers or investments for a government pension fund.

Based on a quick glance of the other tickets, it looks like the pay-to-play rule does not apply to most of the other political parties looking to grab a few votes in November.

The Libertarian Party is on the ballot in most states. It’s candidates Former Governor Gary Johnson (New Mexico) and
Former Superior Court Judge Jim Gray (California) do not currently hold political office.

The Green Party weaved its way through the ballot process and managed to get on the ballot in about half of the states. Neither Dr. Jill Stein (Massachusetts) nor Cheri Honkala (Pennsylvania) currently hold political office.

I’m a bit confused by the ballot of the Party of Socialism and Liberation. Their presidential candidate, Peta Lindsay, and their vice presidential candidate, Yari Osorio, are both under the Constitution’s mandated minimum age for their respective offices. In addition Mr Osorio is foreign born, making him further ineligible to hold the office.

I have no comment on Rosanne Barr’s presidential campaign.

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