The blogs have been abuzz with the idea that Senator Kerry should appoint a shadow cabinet—a means of having spokespersons dog the administration on the major issues. Politically it makes sense (although it also multiplies the risk that one of them will gaffe in a way that swings the election). The idea has even crossed over to the op-ed page of the New York Times. But, as my friend John Berryhill points out in a private communication, it won't happen:
[S]hadow cabinets have not been used in the United States because Mr. Kerry would face up to two years in jail under 18 USC § 599:
“Whoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
I suppose if the 'shadows' were appointed by the DNC, without input from Kerry, that would avoid the legal problem…but it would blunt the political impact. And, to the extent that the appointments were really free from Sen. Kerry's influence, it creates the near-certainty of internecine disputes.