‘It is illegal’: Federal Election Commission chairwoman explains the law about foreign assistance on MSNBC
FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub on MSNBC (screengrab)

The chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission appeared on MSNBC on Friday evening to remind America that it is illegal to solicit election assistance from foreign governments.


Ellen Weintraub was interviewed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word" following a week in which President Donald Trump publicly solicited assistance from multiple foreign governments.

"Let me make something 100% clear," O'Donnell said. "It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation."

O'Donnell noted those weren't his words, but a public statement on "illegal contributions" issued by FEC Ellen Weintraub.

"I want to be clear that I am not opining on anyone’s conduct, I am only here to explain the law," Weintraub explained. "That is my job. I want to explain the law so everyone understands it and hopefully everyone will comply with it."

"Just clarify what quid pro quo might or might not have to do with the law," O'Donnell asked.

"Well, quid pro quo is a bribery material. That’s in the criminal law. I have civil enforcement authority over the campaign finance laws. So quid pro quo really doesn’t enter into it from the standpoint of the FEC," Weintraub explained. "When we talk about the foreign national ban, it is as I tweeted and as you just read, pretty simple: It is illegal for anyone to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from any foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. Period."

Watch: