These apparently are NOT the Swamp-creatures, that Trump Loyalists have been looking for …
Republicans block FEC probe of NRA’s Russia money and Trump
Ellen Weintraub, chair of the FEC, talks with Rachel Maddow about the resistance by her Republican colleagues to allow so much as a phone call to the FBI to inquire about an investigation into whether Russian money donated to the NRA was for the Donald Trump campaign.
Aug. 16, 2019
Here is the segment on youtube:
FEC’s Chair Says GOP Members Blocked Probe into ‘Blockbuster’ Claim Involving Russians, NRA
More controversy involving the Federal Election Commission. Chair Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, called out Republican members on Friday. She said they blocked an investigation into whether Russian nationals illegally funneled money through the National Rifle Association to help then-candidate Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election.
“Some allegations are too serious to ignore,” she wrote. “Too serious to simply take Respondents’ denials at face value. Too serious to play games with. Yet in this matter, my colleagues ran their usual evidence-blocking play and the Commission’s attorneys placed too much faith in the few facts Respondents put before us. As a result, this agency barely lifted a finger to find out the truth behind one of the most blockbuster campaign finance allegations in recent memory.”
She’s talking about a complaint filed with the FEC, in which the National Rifle Association, Russian central bank official Alexander Torshin, and Russian national Maria Butina allegedly violated a federal ban against foreign electoral assistance. This stemmed from a January 2018 McClatchy DC report that the FBI was investigating whether Torshin funneled money through the NRA to help Trump win.
BREAKING: @FEC's Republicans block all investigation of & enforcement against Russians Torshin & Butina re the NRA & the 2016 presidential election.
Result: FEC does nothing to find out the truth behind one of the most blockbuster campaign finance allegations in recent memory. pic.twitter.com/KgrJLJTuZY
— Ellen L Weintraub (@EllenLWeintraub) August 16, 2019
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There’s more on Maria Butina influence story on the NRA here.
This something that she and “her handlers”, have been planning for quite a while, it seems:
In fall 2013, [NRA President David] Keene traveled to Moscow at their invitation for a meeting of about 200 gun-rights advocates hosted by The Right to Bear Arms, a fledgling group Butina had set up in 2011. In a video recorded during the event, Butina introduces Keene, who thanks her by her first name as he takes the podium. Keene then begins an eight-minute speech to the group with comments about his warm ongoing relationship with Torshin, who was sanctioned by the Treasury Department this April and has been accused of mob ties and money laundering by the Spanish government. (Torshin denies those allegations.)
www.motherjones.com — July 20, 2018
And the GOP majority on the FEC, couldn’t be bothered to check it out — Exactly WHO has been contributing $10’s of millions to the NRA’s dark-money funds?
Isn’t that part of the FEC’s Job?
Federal Election Commission Mission
To protect the integrity of the federal campaign finance process by providing transparency and fairly enforcing and administering federal campaign finance laws.
Perhaps they too need a nickname like Moscow Mitch — how about Butina Backers — or better yet: Butina’s Bookies …
The FEC Board members should know better. From the FEC’s own web site:
Foreign nationals are prohibited from: making contributions, donations or expenditures, either directly or through any other person, in connection with any election—federal, state or local. In addition, foreign nationals may not donate to any party committee building fund, or fund electioneering communications or independent expenditures.
Someone in Congress needs to start investigating the Board Members of the FEC.
from nolo the Legal Encyclopedia:
Because contributions to Section 501(c)(3) organizations are deductible, they may only play a limited nonpartisan role in elections. They are flatly prohibited from intervening in political campaigns in any manner whatsoever, whether by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office, mobilizing supporters to help elect or defeat candidates, or giving money to political campaigns or political parties. This prohibition applies to all political campaigns for elective office, including those at the federal, state, and local level, and even includes elections in foreign countries. A nonprofit that violates these rules can lose its tax exemption. (For more information, see Limits on Political Campaigning for 501(c)(3) Nonprofits.)
Once again from FEC’s own web site:
Foreign nationals are prohibited from making contributions, donations or expenditures in connection with any election—federal, state or local. Also, foreign nationals may not donate to any party committee building fund or fund electioneering communications.
The Act prohibits knowingly soliciting, accepting or receiving contributions or donations from foreign nationals. In this context, “knowingly” means that a person:
- Has actual knowledge that the funds solicited, accepted or received are from a foreign national;
- Is aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that there is a substantial probability that the funds solicited, accepted or received are likely to be from a foreign national; or
- Is aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to inquire whether the source of the funds solicited, accepted or received is a foreign national, but the person failed to conduct a reasonable inquiry.
Examples of facts which may be pertinent include, but are not limited to, the use of a foreign passport or passport number for identification purposes, the contributor providing a foreign address, the contributor making a contribution by means of a check or other written instrument drawn on a foreign bank (or by wire transfer from a foreign bank) or the contributor or donor residing abroad.
It is also unlawful to knowingly provide substantial assistance to foreign nationals making contributions or donations in connection with any U.S. election. “Substantial assistance” refers to active involvement in the solicitation, making, receipt or acceptance of a foreign national contribution or donation with the intent of completing the transaction successfully. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, individuals who act as conduits or intermediaries.
Maybe these are “the Droids”, that the FEC has been looking for instead: