Trump Slammed With FEC Complaint for 'Knowingly and Illegally' Soliciting Foreign Donations

Donald Trump has been showered with accusations of financial impropriety, from fraud suits levied against his now-defunct Trump University, to charges that the presidential candidate drastically inflates his charitable donations. To add fuel to the monetary fire, Trump is now facing repercussions for poor fundraising acumen; on Wednesday, the Federal Elections Committee filed a complaint against Donald J. Trump for President for “soliciting contributions from foreign nationals” in a series of emails the campaign sent to “foreign nationals in Iceland, Scotland, Britain and Australia.”

Following reports earlier this month that Trump’s fundraising numbers are severely lagging, the presumptive Republican nominee sent emails to members of the British parliament, Talking Points Memo reports. 

Sir Roger Gale, British Member of Parliament complained about the correspondence to the Speaker of the House Commons, Politics Home notes. "Members of Parliament are being bombarded by electronic communications from Team Trump on behalf of somebody called Donald Trump,” Gale said Tuesday. ”Mr Speaker, I’m all in favour of free speech but I don’t see why colleagues on either side of the House should be subjected to intemperate spam."

Scottish MP Natalie McGarry also complained of the solicitations, posting an email from the Trump campaign to Twitter. In it, Trump asked McGarry to “stand together and fight against [presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s] fraud and lies.” Scottish MP Stuart McDonald also reported receiving emails. 

Scottish National Party Christopher Mullins-Silverstein told Fusion Scottish MPs have “been getting these emails for the past week.”

“Ever since he came to Scotland,” Mullins-Silverstein added.

Icelandic and Australian parliament members also reported receiving emails from Trump. In his email to Australian MPs, Trump even touted the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union, writing in the subject line of his donation, “They took their country back.”

The FEC canned political contributions by foreign nationals in 1966 to “minimize foreign intervention in U.S. elections by establishing a series of limitations on foreign nationals.” According to the FEC, it is unlawful “to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.”

Now, it looks like the commission is taking issue with Trump’s latest fundraising efforts. “Donald J. Trump for President has knowingly and illegally solicited contributions from foreign nationals,” the complaint reads, noting that “a reasonable person would have inquired whether these individuals were foreign nationals, or concluded that there is a substantial probability that these were foreign nationals,” given their email addresses.”

Of course, the FEC report is predicated on the notion that Trump is “a reasonable person;” still, the complaint indicates the commission will “conduct an immediate investigation” into these foreign solicitations and “determine and impose appropriate sanctions for any and all violations.”


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