Since most delegates are expected to cover their own travel and stay in Cleveland, they could be offered thousands of dollars in assistance. Just how far those payments can go has not been tested.
“If they decide to go to Cleveland via Cabo, that might be a problem,” said Anthony Herman, a former FEC general counsel.
But it’s unclear that such a perk would be made public if it was provided by a single donor. Under FEC rules, a contribution from an individual to a delegate does not have to be disclosed, as long as it was not made in coordination with a campaign or as an independent effort to boost a candidate. That means gifts could flow to delegates unseen.
“Beyond subsistence expenses, in the weeks ahead, are there cash and items of value given to these delegates?” asked Republican election law attorney Michael Toner. “Is someone going to show up in the Cayman Islands in January with a three-week paid trip? That’s not going to be readily apparent before the election.”