Donald Trump accused Sen. Cruz and Gov. Kasich of collusion.
Now that you have my opinion –
Let’s examine the evidence:
Collusion – according to Merriam-Webster – is defined as:
secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose
So, 3 elements:
- agreement or cooperation
- for an illegal or deceitful purpose
1 – Secret
As defined by Merriam-Webster –
1 – kept hidden from knowledge or view; marked by the habit of discretion; working with hidden aims or methods; not acknowledged; conducted in secret
2 – remote from human frequentation or notice
3 – revealed only to the initiated
4 – designed to elude observation or detection
5 – containing information whose unauthorized disclosure could endanger national security – compare confidential, top secret
Given the amount of media for this alleged “collusion” between Cruz and Kasich, I’m pretty sure we can say it’s not secret. All you have to do is google it. See what I mean?
So – No, not secret. It’s the opposite of secret.
2 – Agreement or Cooperation
Agreement – as defined by Merriam-Webster –
1 – harmony of opinion, action, or character – concord; the act or fact of agreeing
2 – an arrangement as to a course of action – compact, treaty
3 – a contract duly executed and legally biding; the language or instrument embodying such a contract
Cooperation – as defined by Merriam-Webster –
1 – the act of cooperating: common effort
2 – association of persons for common benefit
Media sources are saying that there is an agreement between campaigns to divide remaining primaries/caucuses/conventions and to use campaign resources where they will get the most bang for their buck. See New York Times and Washington Examiner. The campaigns also would obviously benefit from Trump being taken down a peg or two – and since it benefits both campaigns, we have a common benefit. According to media sources, the campaigns have associated/agreed to this strategy for the common benefit of denying Trump the GOP nomination, in favor – hopefully – of themselves.
So – Yes, this is an agreement and/or cooperation. But that’s only one of the elements and probably the least important.
3 – For an Illegal or Deceitful Purpose
We need to break this down a little further…
While you must have a purpose before you can define it, the focus here is on the “illegal” or “deceitful,” which must describe the purpose in order to meet the element.
Illegal – as defined by Merriam-Webster –
1 – not according to or authorized by law: unlawful, illicit
2 – not sanctioned by official rules (as of a game)
To be clear – election law is fuzzy at best. See disclaimer*
What is clear is this –
1 – Official offices are not to be used for campaign purposes.
Example: a U.S. Congressman has at least one official office in the district and one in D.C. Those offices are to help all constituents (people living in the congressional district) equally. It cannot comment on campaign related questions, and it cannot accept donations to the campaign.
2 – Coordination is not allowed between Political Action Committees (PAC) and campaigns.
This can get complicated, but generally, a campaign for at U.S. Congressman cannot discuss strategy with a PAC (or SuperPAC) that is supporting the (re)election of the Congressman.
These are the two main rules for cooperation between campaigns.
Campaigns and Candidates can – generally –
1 – give money to each other
Example: Campaign A can give money to Campaign B (there may be limits on HOW much can be given – contribution limits)
2 – work with national political parties to cooperate on strategy and platform
Example: X National Party can endorse Candidate A who is part of X political party.
Example: Congressman from Party X endorses Candidate A who is part of X political party – and/or campaigns on Candidate A’s behalf.
Again, this can get into the weeds very quickly – but there is no rule that presidential campaigns can’t work together. They just generally don’t because they have opposing goals – get their person the nomination.
And, if anyone regulates this for the primary part of the election, it going to be the political party NOT federal/state/local election law.
So – No, this is not illegal.
But is it deceitful?
Deceitful – as defined by Merriam-Webster –
having a tendency or disposition to deceive; not honest; deceptive, misleading
… The campaigns told us they were doing this, therefore not deceptive or misleading or not – honest. They literally told us – in press releases and media. See above, Cruz Campaign, and Kasich Campaign, and oh yeah – go here again.
So – No, not deceitful.
No, Kasich and Cruz agreement is not secret.
Yes, this is an agreement and/or cooperation.
No, this is not illegal.
No, it’s not deceitful.
Donald Trump can whine and cry all he wants, but just because he calls a duck a fish – or an agreement, a collusion – doesn’t make the duck a fish – or the Kasich-Cruz agreement actually a collusion.
Unfortunately, facts are the casualties of politics.
*Disclaimer: I am not an election lawyer, though I have studied the outlines of this area of law. Any mistakes in this post are my own misunderstandings.