Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is running for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016, so why does he get to continue to pretend otherwise when it suits his campaign? The New York Times has an interesting story on walking the legal line as an official “candidate” for President:
Jeb Bush is under growing pressure to acknowledge what seems obvious to some voters and election lawyers: He is running for president.
The lawyers say Mr. Bush, a former Florida governor, is stretching the limits of election law by crisscrossing the country, hiring a political team and raising tens of millions of dollars at fund-raisers, all without declaring — except once, by mistake — that he is a candidate.
Some election experts say Mr. Bush passed the legal threshold to be considered a candidate months ago, even if he has not formally acknowledged it. Federal law makes anyone who raises or spends $5,000 in an effort to become president a candidate and thus subject to fund-raising, spending and disclosure rules. Greater latitude is allowed for those who, like Mr. Bush, say they are merely “testing the waters” for a possible run…
…The issue is not one of mere semantics. If Mr. Bush did declare that he is running, it would bring a raft of election restrictions, including a limit of $2,700 on contributions, and a ban on “coordinating” with a “super PAC” he has used to raise money.
But much of campaign finance law is a subject of dispute, and defining who is a candidate is no exception.
This issue is rapidly turning into a public relations disaster for Jeb Bush. On Sunday, Bush appeared on the CBS show “Face the Nation” and was asked point-blank if he was violating the law by not officially declaring as a candidate for President. “No, of course not,” was his answer (the New York Times reports that Jeb appeared “jarred” by the question).
We can understand the apparent advantages of not officially declaring your candidacy, but this seems like a pretty silly risk for Bush to take when there are plenty of other ways to raise money that are not subject to individual contribution limits. How do you convince people to support you for President when you refuse to even admit that you are running for the office?