Did Chelsea Clinton Break the Law?

ABC News has the headline “Did Chelsea Clinton Break the Law?”

What was her pernicious deed?

Did Chelsea Clinton Break the Law? Democratic presidential hopeful US Sen. Hillary Clinton (L) (D-NY) talks to reporters as her daughter Chelsea (C) and her husband former US President Bill Clinton (R) look on at the Douglas Grafflin Elementary School polling place February 5, 2008 in Chappaqua, New York. Voters will go to the polls in 22 states for the Super Tuesday presidential primary election. (Justin Sullivan/Getty) Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton’s Election Day visit to New Haven poll workers Tuesday prompted state election officials to caution that politicking within 75 feet of polling sites is against state law.

Two television station reporters told state officials Tuesday morning that Clinton brought poll workers coffee and talked with a firefighter at a New Haven precinct when polls opened at 6 a.m., said Adam Joseph, a spokesman for the secretary of the state’s office.

WTNH-TV reported that Chelsea Clinton immediately went outside after election moderator Nilda Torres announced that the polls were open.

Mmm hmm. So, did she break the law?

“I did not consider it an issue because she didn’t come here, as far as I’m concerned, to influence anything here or disrupt us,” Torres said. “She was here, I opened the polls and then she left.”

No formal complaint about the incident was filed, but Deputy Secretary of the State Lesley Mara e-mailed New Haven registrars to remind them of the 75-foot rule, Joseph said.

So that would be no?

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Law and the Courts, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Beldar says:

    There is much to be concerned with about the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

    This incident is not one of them.

  2. Tano says:

    ahh, yeah, it would be a no.

  3. William d'Inger says:

    Sure she broke the law. Here you had someone who’s hit the campaign trail for a major candidate bringing gifts to polling place workers on election day. It was an obvious and flagrant criminal act. Only a liberal would rationalize it as innocent and only because it was perpetrated by a fellow liberal.

  4. teqjack says:

    “brought poll workers coffee”
    No donuts?

  5. sam says:

    Sure she broke the law. … It was an obvious and flagrant criminal act.

    Ah fer chrissakes lighten up. You’re gonna give yourself an aneurysm.

  6. Tlaloc says:

    Ah, the joys of a clinton presidency. Nothing like watching thousands of rabid rightwing conspirators savage a young woman.

    Hey at least this time they aren’t going to be picking on a twleve year old.

    Cause you know that might show a little lack of character…

  7. Jim says:

    Only a “fellow liberal” would defend the Chelsea Clinton donut scandal, William d’Inger? Well, I guess you might be right – I certainly don’t see it as an issue. Maybe we could get Ken Starr to come out of retirement and investigate.

    Until then though I await expectantly your definitive pronouncement of “he broke the law” in response to any of the numerous and far more substantial allegations of lawbreaking made against Bush and his administration.

    I’m sure this omission is just an oversight on your part.