In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Federal Elections Commission is warning that there is already foreign intrusion in the U.S. campaigns.
FEC chair Ellen L. Weintraub was forced to issue a statement after President Donald Trump said that he wasn't sure what he would do if a foreign government approached him with "dirt" on his political opponent. He said that he "might" tell the FBI but would likely hear what they had to say. He said that it wasn't illegal, but Weintraub issued a statement reiterating that it is illegal.
"I am particularly concerned about the risk of illicit funds and foreign support influencing our political system. Foreign dark money represents a significant vulnerability for American democracy. We do not know the extent to which our political campaigns receive foreign dark money, but we do know that the political money can be weaponized by well-funded hostile powers," the letter warned.
"Under today's campaign finance laws, a foreign adversary can transfer money to a 501(c) organization that can, in turn, contribute funds to a super PAC without disclosing the foreign source of money. A foreign-owned LLC can contribute to a 501(c) or super PAC without those entities ever disclosing the true owners of the LLC," Weintraub continued.
She went on to say that they've already levied "record fines" for exactly these types of activities "...against a super PAC and a number of individuals -- including foreign nationals -- that orchestrated the donation of $1.3 million from foreign nationals to a super PAC supporting a 2016 presidential candidate.
While the letter didn't say who, they were referring to the super PAC Right to Rise, which is a pro-Jeb Bush outfit.
"Anyone who solicits, accepts, or receives electoral support for a foreign source risks being on the wrong end of the federal investigation," Weintraub continued. "Knowing and willful violations of the ban on foreign-national contributions face the prospect of criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice. Alternatively, they may face a civil enforcement action from the Federal Election Commission. Anyone -- especially any officeholder, political campaign, or political committee -- that receives an offer of electoral assistance from a foreign source should immediately report that offer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
Read the full letter below:
Chair of @FEC, @EllenLWeintraub, sent letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee warning of foreign influence in U.S.… https://t.co/EbpKkhDZv0— Dave Levinthal (@Dave Levinthal) 1561065777.0