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East County News Service

August 16, 2016 (Washington D.C.) — It’s illegal for U.S. federal candidates to solicit or receive campaign contributions from foreign donors.  So why has Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign repeatedly sent fundraising letters to foreigners including elected officials in other countries—despite repeated warnings that this violates federal election law?

Two nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog groups, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, have sent a criminal complaint to the Department of Justice after multiple news outlets revealed that the Trump campaign ignored an earlier complaint filed with the Federal Elections Commission back on June 29th, the Hill reports. 

Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, stated, “It’s inexplicable and impossible to understand why the Trump campaign appears to still be illegally soliciting foreign donations after they have been put on notice numerous times that this is illegal. There is no ambiguity about the fact that these solicitations are illegal.”

Multiple foreign officials including members of the British and Australian Parliament have confirmed receiving repeated fundraising appeals from Trump’s campaign.

A Trump spokesman has blamed the problem on “scammers” and claimed fundraising pitches were only sent to people who signed up to be on a campaign distribution list.   

But Terri Butler, an Australian Parliament member, sent the Hill an email she received August 14 on her government email account asking for a contribution. Butler says she never signed up to be on Trump’s e-mail list and has previously asked to be removed.

Larry Noble, the general counsel for the non-partisan watchdog Campaign Legal Center, told the Hill that Trump’s failure to stop to the solicitations even after a criminal complaint was filed amounts to “compelling evidence of the campaign’s flagrant disregard for the law.”

The FEC and the Justice Department do not comment on pending investigations.

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