FEC Fines Jeb Bush Super PAC $390,000 In “Rare and Remarkable Step”!

Ouch!


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Anyone got a spare $390,000 they can lend to the Super PAC “Right to Rise”?

Because they need it after getting hit with a huge fine from the FEC!

The Super PAC was a Jeb Bush supporter and apparently didn’t play by U.S. election rules, because the FEC fined it for breaking the federal law barring foreign interference in US elections.

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Ouch!

The HuffPost called it a rare and remarkable step:

The super PAC that backed Jeb Bush’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has been hit with a $390,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission for accepting a $1.3 million illegal foreign contribution from a Chinese company. The FEC fined the company $550,000.

The combined fines are the largest ever imposed for campaign contributions by foreign nationals, according to the Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group that filed the complaintthat triggered the FEC investigation.

The action is a “rare and remarkable step by the FEC, and a reminder that safeguarding our elections against foreign interference is in America’s vital national security interests,” said the Campaign Legal Center president, Trevor Potter, a former Republican chairman of the FEC. “This illegal $1.3 million contribution is unmistakable proof that Citizens United opened the floodgates” to hidden foreign money in U.S. campaigns, and it is “surely the tip of the iceberg,” he warned in a statement.

The Right to Rise super PAC solicited the contribution in 2016 from American Pacific International Capital, a California corporation owned by Chinese citizens, according to the CLC complaint. Bush’s brother Neil Bush was on the company board. The subject of the donations was first broached by Neil Bush, according to a conciliation agreement concerning the FEC fines, said Mother Jones magazine, which was first to report the penalties.

Campaign Legal Center filed an FEC complaint following a 2016 article in the Intercept about the Chinese company’s contribution. The donation was intended to “influence in some way good or bad policies” and to “create a better environment” for doing business, a company spokesman told the Intercept.

Corporations offer an easy cover for foreign actors to “influence elections, usually without detection,” Campaign Legal Center’s Brendan Fischer said.

Here's more:

And from CNN:

The Federal Election Commission fined a Chinese-owned corporation and a Jeb Bush super PAC a record amount after concluding both broke a federal law barring foreign interference in US elections. 

The FEC fined the Jeb Bush super PAC Right to Rise $390,000 for soliciting a contribution from a foreign national and the American Pacific International Capital $550,000 for making the contribution, according to the settlement agreement posted online by the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center. The FEC found APIC contributed $1.3 million to Right to Rise. 

"Today's action is a rare and remarkable step by the FEC, and a reminder that safeguarding our elections against foreign interference is in America's vital national security interests," the president of CLC, Trevor Potter, is quoted saying in a news release. Potter is the former commissioner and chairman of the FEC.

"Right to Rise conciliated this matter to avoid costly litigation and appreciates the commission's recognition of its extensive compliance efforts," Charlie Spies, the counsel to Right to Rise, told CNN. 

The levies are the largest FEC fine since the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United v. FEC case in 2010, according to CLC. The high court's decision paved the way for the creation of super PACs like Right to Rise and allowed corporations and labor unions to spend an unlimited amount advocating for or against political candidates. 

It's the third highest fine in the history of the FEC, according to the CLC. 

The Citizens United ruling has been condemned by progressive activists, who argue super PACs drown out the voices of average American voters. Rejecting corporate PAC money has become a litmus test for Democratic candidates running for President in 2020.

Neil Bush, the brother of Jeb Bush and former President George W. Bush, solicited the contribution from APIC, according to the settlement agreement. Neil Bush is an APIC board member "and knew that fellow board members Gordon Tang and Huaidan Chen were foreign nationals," the settlement reads. 

"The Respondents contend that they made all contributions with the good faith belief that they were permissible, a belief that was informed by their understanding of a legal memorandum drafted by counsel to Right to Rise USA," according to the settlement.

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