Pat Parker was a law school graduate who started a consulting firm that specialized in conducting opposition research and writing reports for political candidates, primarily for the Democratic Party. This specific case is about how Pat Parker developed a research report for Democratic nominee, Dale Jackson for the statewide Attorney General position. Two years later, representatives of the State Academy of Trial Lawyers wanted to buy the same research document on the Republican Attorney General, Terry Paine in what Parker believed to be an effort to inoculate their candidate during an upcoming election. Parker wasn't sure how to proceed. There was the potential to be arrested for reselling the information, plus it could jeopardize the political party's candidate.
There are several legal issues to be concerned with in this case. Would Pat Parker violate either contract or federal copyright laws by selling the research or the associated postcards to the State Academy of Trial Lawyers or anyone else who desired to purchase them? Could Parker sell the research to the State Academy of Trial Lawyers without violating the $500 maximum funding limit under the Florida Campaign Finance Statute? Would Parker be violating the Florida Voluntary Code of Fair Campaign Practices if he sold a report generated for one party to the other party? Also, if the items were resold to a third party, would Parker & Associates be violating any particular codes of ethics?.
2. Legal Analysis.
The first legal issue to be analyzed is whether Parker would have violated contract law if all or any portion of the research document had been sold to the State Academy of Trial Lawyers? To determine if Parker would be violating the contract, a valid contract must first exist. Three elements of a valid contract must be proven, including competent parties, consideration, and mutual assent or meeting of the minds. .
Element 1: Competent Parties.