Dozens of Chinese Citizens Apparently Made Contributions to Trump Reelect and Local Political Committees
WASHINGTON – Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) asking for an investigation into foreign nationals potentially making contributions to U.S. political committees in connection with foreign fundraising excursions advertised to Chinese citizens.
CLC’s complaint describes multiple instances where different tour organizers invite Chinese citizens to fundraising events for U.S. political committees, including Trump’s 2020 joint fundraising committee, where admission is generally contingent on making a contribution. Some invitations offer a picture with the president, a privilege only afforded to contributors who give or raise tens of thousands of dollars. Reports indicate that Chinese nationals are then attending these fundraisers and getting pictures with President Trump.
“Campaign contributions often buy access in the U.S. political system, and foreign actors quite clearly want to play the same game,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal reform at CLC. “The consistent pattern of foreign invitations to high-dollar fundraising events and foreign national attendance at these events indicate that foreign funds are indirectly flowing into U.S. campaigns, potentially through straw donors.”
It is not plausible that dozens of U.S. nationals are routinely using their own money to contribute thousands of dollars to Trump’s campaign, and then passing the perks associated with that contribution to a Chinese tourist who paid a travel firm many times that amount. It is far more likely that U.S. nationals are being reimbursed for their contributions using some portion of the funds paid by Chinese citizens participating in these political tours.
CLC’s complaint includes foreign invitations to Trump Victory fundraisers in places like New York City, Palm Beach, Florida, Dallas, Texas and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Cindy Yang, a South Florida-based entrepreneur and spa owner, is currently being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for potentially arranging for Chinese nationals to directly or indirectly make contributions through straw donors. However, CLC’s investigation shows that Yang is only one of many tour operators advertising political tourism to Chinese nationals.