Campaign Legal Center Files Complaint Alleging Canadian Corporation Made Illegal Contributions to DeSantis Committees
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Campaign Legal Center (CLC) has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Toronto-based ECN Capital Corporation (“ECN Capital”) for violating federal campaign financial laws prohibiting foreign national contributions.
Florida campaign finance records show that from 2018 to 2022, ECN Capital gave over $100,000 in foreign national contributions to state political committees. Recipients of this funding include the past two gubernatorial campaigns for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in addition to Friends of Ron DeSantis, the state-level PAC that illegally transferred $82.5 million in soft money — money that isn’t subject to federal campaign finance laws — to Never Back Down, a federal super PAC supporting DeSantis’s current presidential bid.
“The recent, unprecedented rise of ‘soft money’ in federal elections undermines the crucial campaign finance laws that exist to uphold transparency, combat corruption, and safeguard the electoral process,” said Saurav Ghosh, director of federal campaign finance reform at Campaign Legal Center. “As this complaint shows, foreign money may already be influencing the 2024 presidential election, which obviously undermines voters’ ability to trust that the electoral process and their government are truly serving their interests.”
For decades, the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) has prohibited foreign nationals – foreign corporations included – from making contributions in connection with any local, state, or federal elections. Foreign nationals are also prohibited from participating in a decision-making processes related to making political contributions.
U.S.-registered subsidiaries of ECN Capital also made contributions to federal and state elections totaling over $122,000 in this same four-year period. Given that ECN Capital’s subsidiaries appear to exist only on paper, ECN Capital’s officers — several of whom appear to be Canadian nationals — most likely participated in decision-making around this group of contributions, such that the contributions from the U.S.-based subsidiaries also violated federal campaign finance laws.
The FEC has taken action in the recent past on illegal foreign contributions, even in an era that has seen the Commission regularly fail to uphold the law. As the sole government agency tasked with enforcing federal campaign finance law, enforcing the prohibitions against foreign influence are an important part of the FEC’s mission.
The FEC should investigate this political spending by ECN Capitol and take appropriate action to uphold and enforce the law.