Young Democrats Beer Giveaway May Have Been Illegal

by ARLnow.com October 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm 3,005 29 Comments

Politico is reporting that an Arlington Young Democrats-sponsored “absentee voting happy hour” last week may have broken federal election laws.

The event, at Velocity Five in Courthouse, promised free beer for anyone who showed up with a sticker proving that they voted absentee.

“In elections in which federal candidates are on the ballot, no one can offer any kind of benefit or reward for voting,” an election law professor told Politico.

AYD President Gordon Simonett said “zero people” showed up to take advantage of the group’s offer.

  • Leaving

    Since when did arlnow link to the Drudge Report?

  • el fat kid

    Ben Smith can write some really stupid shit sometimes. If i was a senior writer at politico i’d be somewhat embarrassed to give a non-story this much ink. regardless of party, this was a minor screw-up w/ no implications.

    • Jim

      blaming the reporter rather than talking about the facts. sad. i didn’t know you were the President of NPR.

      • el fat kid

        only in a Deminted world is calling someone the head of public radio an insult.

        • Jim

          i’m going to assume you meant “demented” vs. “deminted” – but i’ll let that slide. and on the point of whether the president of NPR made a poor decision or not… when her federal funding gets stripped next year, we’ll all know the answer.

          • JD32

            No, I’m pretty sure he meant Deminted – as in Jim DeMint, the crackpot senator.


            As far as NPR’s funding is concerned, I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve got nothing more to add to the conversation than parroting Rush’s talking points.

          • el fat kid

            1.) you missed a pretty obvious play on words.

            2.) please, please… i pray to God the R’s pick a fight w/ NPR funding if they take over the House.

            3.) you’re going to have a hard time eliminating the line-item, earmark, what have you, for NPR directed spending in the federal budget for a simple and often overlooked reason, it doesn’t exist.

  • sure

    RIIIIIIGHT. NO one came to the event….RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT. Typical political backside covering. The arlington young democrats should at least man up here and tell the truth – they broke federal election laws. This is the reaction on would expect from a policital type.

    • el fat kid

      kind of like Murray is while exceeding in-kind contribution limits from Frank Fannon???

      these were a couple young kids who did something stupid and unless you have evidence of this impacting the election you probably should shut up.

      • Jim

        you are this horrible of a guy in person? or is this just an on-line persona? inquiring minds what to know.

        • el fat kid

          you’re the one throwing out accusations w/ no evidence/proof that this has impacted the election by even one vote. sorry for calling you out on it. sounds like typical conservative victim mentality to me. 🙂

          • sure

            el fasto – what are you talking about? – people involved in politics are simply bad people – red white green or blue. Particularly “young” groups. Get a job, not hope to suck off the rest of us. Note: I think that the “Leadership Insitute” which just leased space in Clarendon should not be allowed to exist. We already have enough “leaders” taking our money.

          • Jim

            @fat kid – So the answer is yes.

  • Jim

    how is this a non-story? arlington group violates federal election rules and is written up in a well-known political newspaper… sounds like arlington news to me.

  • arl politico

    In any case, get out the vote with the Arlington Young Democrats by signing up to volunteer at bit.ly/aydvolunteer

  • Foolish Teabagger

    It’s obvious the intent of the law wasn’t violated. Much ado about nothing.

  • Novanglus

    This _did_ violate the intent of the law, and there’s good reason for the law. It would be easy to influence an election by offering voting rewards in neighborhoods that are more likely to support your candidate.

    Good motives, AYD’s, but a bad idea.

    Someone should tell CalTort.

    • Tony Perkins

      When they start revoking the tax-exempt status of the churches who tell their members to vote Republican, then maybe you’ll have a point.

  • Thes

    I didn’t see anyone from Starbucks going to jail when they did this:


    • Jeff Miller

      I don’t know if anyone went to jail, but Starbucks was advised by at least two states (Washington and California) that its “free coffee for voters” program in 2008 was a violation of federal election law. Starbucks quickly changed the program — before Election Day — to provide free coffee to anyone on that day, regardless of voting.

      See news stories: http://www.news10.net/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=50042 and http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aIBd9wa0Xh7U

      And if offering free coffee is a violation, then certainly the offer of free beer and food is a violation.

      • Thes

        Doubtless, having been similarly advised, the Arlington Young Democrats will now make similar adjustments. Hopefully, they will be treated with no more opprobrium for their error than was a major corporation (possessing an in-house legal team) for the same error.

        • Matt W.

          Thes, The Arlington Young Democrats should be held to a higher standard because they were asking for partisan votes and Starbucks was asking that people go to the polls. I also didn’t see Starbucks try to get off the hook and avoid accountability by saying that no one took free coffee, did you?

          • Thes

            No, a major corporation with paid lawyers should be held to a “higher standard” of knowing what the law is than should a group of, by definition, young, inexperienced volunteers without a paid legal staff. And as far as I know, the YDs didn’t limit the prize to people who voted a particular way (and how could they know, anyway?). The point is that it’s an obscure law that many people don’t know about until it’s brought to their attention. Starbucks screwed it up, and so did the YDs. Not a big deal.

          • Greg

            Last I checked, not knowing what the law is isn’t a defense. And the Young Democrats are a group of adults, right? I mean, they’re buying beer.

            Regardless of whether the YDs can prove who someone voted for, the implication is clear. A political group is trying to influence people to vote Democrat.

            This isn’t a big deal, especially if no one showed up, but they should get a slap on the wrist for it. These are future politicians. It’s a good learning experience.

        • TGEoA

          Starbucks didn’t do anything illegal. The AYD on the other hand DID.

  • Pingback: Beer for votes? – Politico (blog) | BloggerLager.com()

  • BoredHouseWife

    Stupid. All one had to do was check the laws.

  • Darwin

    Geez what’s next, electing a president that wasn’t born in this country?!

  • Jimmy

    Wow! The nonsensical liberal arguments are simply comical. I’m loving the partisan hacks on this site.


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