The chief of staff for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (above) is among the Senate Democratic chiefs who are using professional fundraisers to make their calls for cash for the DSCC.
“I think the idea that the staff is involved in fundraising or certainly attending political events on their own time is inherent in the job,” said Ken Gross, an attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
“If somebody who is an important staffer asks for money, on their own time, it’s not much different than the candidate themselves dialing for dollars,” Gross added.
Congressional aides face the same restrictions that Members do when fundraising, Gross said, which includes prohibitions against giving the appearance that donors receive special treatment or access, or linking contributions to official acts.
But attorney Elliot Berke, co-chairman of McGuireWood’s political law group, warned that staffers must be careful not to suggest the events give donors special access to an “official staffer.”
“It’s certainly common practice for official staff to volunteer on campaigns, but if you’re holding yourself in your official capacity for a campaign event you need to be careful not to create the wrong impression,” Berke said.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.