JUST IN: Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign was just found guilty of accepting illegal in-kind foreign contributions from the Australian Labor Party during the 2016 elections.
Conservative Tribune reported that the Federal Election Commission fined Sanders’ campaign $14,500 for committing this crime. The ruling came about because of a February 2016, conservative activist group Project Veritas video showing Australian nationals working for the Sanders campaign on the dime of the Australian taxpayer-funded ALP. Republican and former New Hampshire House speaker William O’Brien filed a report with the FCC immediately after Project Veritas made the footage public, alleging the ALP had made “prohibited foreign contributions” to the Sanders campaign.
The ALP reportedly contacted Sanders’ campaign and asked permission for Australian nationals to be inserted into the campaign as volunteers. The Sanders campaign said yes even though they knew the ALP would be paying Australians a daily stipend in addition to covering the cost of their flights to the United States.
The FEC stated that while volunteering with the Sanders campaign, the Australians engaged in political activities “including encouraging voter attendance at campaign events, recruiting volunteers, canvassing with volunteers, and planning events.” The FEC added the Sanders campaign “treated the ALP delegates no differently from any other campaign out-of-town volunteers and was aware that they were receiving a stipend from the ALP.”
A Sanders spokesperson released a statement making it clear that they don’t think they broke any rules.
“During the course of the campaign, thousands and thousands of young people from every state and many other countries volunteered. Among them were seven Australian young people who were receiving a modest stipend and airfare from the Australian Labor Party so they could learn about American politics,” the spokesperson said. “The folks on the campaign managing volunteers did not believe the stipend disqualified them from being volunteers.”
“In order to avoid a long and expensive fight with the FEC over the technical status of these young people, the campaign agreed to pay the FEC a small settlement but did not agree that it broke any rules,” the Sanders spokesperson added.
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