For all the disagreement on campaign finance law there is one hard and fast rule that has no gray areas and upon which most all Americans agree. That is, citizens of other nations cannot contribute to federal, state, or local candidates in the United States. The Federal Elections Commission is crystal clear on the prohibition and its history:
The ban on political contributions and expenditures by foreign nationals was first enacted in 1966 as part of the amendments to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), an “internal security” statute. The goal of the FARA was to minimize foreign intervention in U.S. elections by establishing a series of limitations on foreign nationals. These included registration requirements for the agents of foreign principals and a general prohibition on political contributions by foreign nationals. In 1974, the prohibition was incorporated into the Federal Election Campaign Act (the FECA), [HTML] [PDF] giving the Federal Election Commission (FEC) jurisdiction over its enforcement and interpretation.
The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. [emphasis mine] Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.
Violating this law is not unheard of. Bill and Hillary Clinton, for instance, in 1996 were virtually awash in cash from Communist China.
Now it seems that the Trump campaign, at least in the person of one of his big-foreheaded gits, Eric Trump, is actively soliciting donations from British Members of Parliament:
— Natalie McGarry MP (@NatalieMcgarry) June 23, 2016
— Stuart McDonald MP (@Stuart_McDonald) June 27, 2016
Oddly enough, or perhaps, not oddly at all from what we’ve seen of the clanking, smoking jalopy that is Trump campaign, the leading recipients are members of the Scottish National Party, a party that opposed Brexit, and the fundraising emails hail Brexit as a great thing.
In recent days, as the U.K. pondered its future in the European Union and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump waded in with a press conference on his Scottish golf course, the Scottish National Party’s 54 members of the British Parliament received multiple emails from Trump’s campaign, soliciting donations for his presidential bid — a possible violation of U.S. campaign finance laws, they say.
“They’ve been getting these emails for the past week,” SNP staffer Christopher Mullins-Silverstein told Fusion. “Ever since he came to Scotland.”
Records provided to Fusion show that the emails actually started last Wednesday, the day before Britons voted to leave the E.U. in a historic referendum — and just before Trump arrived in the Scottish lowlands to promote his golf resort and praise the Brexit vote, with awkward results.
The donation emails sent to the MPs include one in which Trump praises British voters for opting to leave the E.U. “These voters stood up for their nation — they put the United Kingdom first, and they took their country back,” it states, linking to a donation site and adding: “Will you stand with me at this critical time?” (Nearly two-thirds of Scots voted against leaving the E.U.; many Scots, led by left-leaning SNP politicians, are now calling for independence from the rest of the U.K. for Scotland.)
But Trump’s efforts at international fundraising go beyond
Icelandic parliamentarians are scratching their heads over a mass mailing from the Donald Trump campaign asking them for donations.
Numerous members of the Icelandic parliament are both bemused and confused by an email, apparently received by all of then, asking for donations to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Independence Party MP Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson told MBL that he was surprised to receive the email; more so to be addressed as a “friend” of Trump in said email. He also confirmed for reporters that he would not be donating to the Trump campaign.
Trump’s campaign apparently made no distinction between conservative and progressive MPs, either. Left-Green chairperson Katrín Jakobsdóttir also reportedly received the donation plea, as did Pirate Party captain Birgitta Jónsdóttir.
All told, numerous MPs from both sides of the parliamentary political spectrum received solicitations from Trump, but it is unknown who, if anyone, donated.
The fundraising email to Scotland, in particular, is troublesome. An innocent explanation would be that the Trump campaign rented a list from somewhere and the list included those email addresses. This seems plausible at first glance because we know what kind of a goat rope the Trump email fundraising campaign is. But the fact that the emails focus on Brexit clouds that explanation and seems to be aimed at a British audience, albeit, very inaccurately aimed. Absent some very innocent and plausible explanation, each and every one of those emails constitutes a violation of campaign finance law because it is soliciting a contribution from a foreign national.
It is very strange that a man who claims to put America first and that he is self-financing his campaign has turned to begging foreigners for campaign contributions.