Watchdog Groups Call on DOJ to Investigate Trump Campaign
In a letter sent today to the Justice Department, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center called for an investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign committee has engaged in knowing and willful violations of federal campaign finance laws.
According to the letter, “Based on numerous published reports, it appears that the Trump committee has solicited contributions from foreign nationals, in violation of the ban on soliciting any contribution in connection with a federal, state, or local election from a foreign national.”
Published reports further indicate that the Trump campaign committee has knowingly continued to send fundraising solicitations to foreign nationals after it was made aware that the solicitations were prohibited by campaign finance laws. On June 29, 2016, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission regarding this matter.
“The Department of Justice has its own separate responsibility to enforce the campaign finance laws against “knowing and willful” criminal violations of the law,” says the letter. “The DOJ Handbook lists the foreign national contribution ban as one of the “heartland provisions” of the campaign finance laws that warrants criminal prosecution.”
“This is an open and shut case of the Trump campaign illegally soliciting foreign contributions,” said Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer. “It is striking and inexplicable that these solicitations brazenly continued after the Trump campaign was informed they were prohibited by law. As apparent knowing and willful violations of the law, the foreign money solicitations by the Trump campaign raise the issue of criminal conduct and require a Justice Department investigation.”
"It boggles the mind that the Trump campaign would continue violating the ban on fundraising from foreign politicians even after receiving a formal complaint alleging it was breaking the law," said Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. "Tapping foreign politicians for cash and flouting U.S. law is no way to make America great."
Numerous media outlets asked the Trump campaign about the emails in response to the FEC complaint filed by the watchdog groups, but received no comment. Published reports on July 16, 2016 reveal that, “Donald Trump’s campaign is still soliciting illegal donations from foreign individuals—including members of foreign governments at their official email addresses—weeks after the campaign was put on notice by watchdog groups.”
The letter concluded that, “The Department should conduct an investigation and take appropriate action in light of these apparently knowing and willful violations of the law by the Trump Committee.”