Normally, being a delegate to a national political convention is an expensive honor. Sure, delegates and alternatives get to go to some high-end parties and enjoy some gourmet hors d’oeuvres and top-shelf hooch and maybe hobnob with a few celebrities. But typically they defray their own travel and hotel expenses. In a “normal” year, they are, after all, pretty much TV extras who get decked out with colorful hats and signs to mug for the cameras during the big speeches. One’s as good as another, so nobody has an incentive to foot the bills, do they?
Of course, 2016 is not a normal year for Republicans. If a “contested convention” occurs, the identity and loyalties of individual delegates could matter a great deal for the first time in 40 years. There’s also vastly more money sloshing around the presidential nominating contest than there was four decades ago.
So it’s potentially of great interest to know that there do not seem to be many, if any, bright-line restrictions on delegates receiving tangible assistance from campaigns, or more likely, from super-pacs or other shadowy sources. Matea Gold and Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post explain the basic rules, or lack thereof: