Filmmaker and bombastic liberal Michael Moore has urged Republican members of the Electoral College to vote against President-elect Donald Trump and has also offered to reimburse them for any fines they might incur.
“If you don’t vote for him, your state will fine you $1,000,” Moore wrote Sunday in an open letter on his Facebook page addressed to Republican electors. “So here’s my offer to you: I obviously can’t and won’t give you money to vote tomorrow, but if you do vote your conscience and you are punished for it, I will personally step up (and) pay your fine which is my legal right to do.”
There was just one problem with this slick maneuver: It looked like a bribe.
According to the United States Code, available for review at Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute, bribery of state and federal officials is a federal offense. And since the electoral process is governed by a mixture of state and federal laws, it seems likely (though not fully certain) that offering a personal inducement to an elector would be illegal.
Speaking with LifeZette earlier this month after television producer David Simon reportedly offered free box sets of “The Wire” to any elector who turned against Trump, the manager of the Heritage Foundation’s Law Reform Center Initiative concurred with this assessment.
“Yeah, it’s illegal,” manager Hans von Spakovsky said at the time, referencing any attempts to bribe members of the Electoral College. “It’s probably illegal under state law, as well.”
Since it was reportedly illegal for Simon to offer freebies to faithless electors, it would only be fair to surmise that it would also be illegal for Moore to offer what can be construed as a $1,000 reward to any elector who votes against Trump.
That President Barack Obama’s Justice Department would actually do anything about this, however, seems improbable.
“(T)his Justice Department has shown no interest in these cases,” von Spakovsky noted.
The irony is that if the electors stick to their oath and vote Trump into office, the Trump-administration Justice Department could swiftly change this and even go so far as to make an example out of both Simon and Moore — something that many of Trump’s most ardent supporters would likely quite appreciate.
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