Whoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.The law is not entirely clear, however. Five years ago, Rick Hasen wrote:
Political Wire flags the issue. The federal statute bars making such promises “for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy.” I read this as requiring proof Gingrich said he would appoint Bolton for the purpose of getting Bolton’s support. More likely, Gingrich made the promise to gain support from voters. I recall a similar issue around alleged promises of employment in the Obama administration to Joe Sestak to get him to drop out of the race against Arlen Specter. After nosing around, I found virtually no prosecutions or caselaw developing such rules.