Giving new meaning to the term "grassroots support," Bernie Sanders supporter, Ariel Zimman, is selling homemade ceramic pipes emblazoned with Sanders' campaign logo to help raise funds for the presidential candidates. The 29-year-old from Portland is marketing her smoking ware to the "Burners for Bernie" set and advertises that 10 percent of her proceeds will benefit the Sanders' campaign.
“It was really just a way to show my support for him as a candidate,” Zimman said. “People love [the pipes], and once they hear they are contributing in some way to the campaign, they are all about that too.”
But according to the Center for Public Integrity, the legality of Zimman's efforts is questionable. Attorneys say that entrepreneurs open themselves up to certain risks by using candidates' names, likenesses or logos, especially if they promise to donate a specific portion of the sales.
“You can’t promise to pass the money along to the candidate,” Joe Birkenstock, an attorney at Sandler Reiff who previously served as the chief counsel of the Democratic National Committee, told the Center for Public Integrity.
“If I was advising one of these vendors, I would probably advise them to be a little less specific in their solicitation,” Larry Noble, a former top lawyer for the Federal Election Commission who now works at the Campaign Legal Center, reiterated.
But other attorneys were not so concerned, noting that most political campaigns wouldn't turn against their own supporters.
“I can’t imagine the campaign going against them,” Ken Gross, who leads the political law practice at Skadden Arps, said. “They’re supporters. They don’t want to turn them off.”
Feeling the burn? Zimman sells her pipes online for $60. Chillums are $30.
(Photo Courtesy of Facebook)