Ellen L. Weintraub, the Chair of the Federal Election Commission, issued a statement Thursday evening unequivocally stating that accepting contributions either financially or otherwise from foreign nationals is illegal.
Weintraub’s statement comes a day after President Donald Trump stated that he wouldn’t necessarily go to the FBI in the event his campaign was contacted by foreign groups during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. (RELATED: Daily Caller Editors Live Chat: Media Goes Ballistic Over Trump’s Foreign Oppo Comment)
“Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: 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,” her statement begins. “This is not a novel concept. Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation. Our Founding Fathers sounds the alarm about ‘foreign Interference, Intrigue, and Influence.’”
It continued, “They knew that when foreign governments seek to influence American politics, it is always to advance their own interests, not America’s. Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation. Any political campaign that receives an offer of a prohibited donation from a foreign source should report that offer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
In Stephanopoulos’s interview, he asked the president if his campaign would go to the FBI in the event they are contacted by a foreign entity with dirt on an opponent.
“I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. There isn’t anything wrong with listening,” the president answered. “If somebody called from a country —Norway — [and said,] ‘We have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”
Trump justified his statement by claiming everyone does it.
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York was among many who pointed out that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was involved in funding opposition research conducted by British spy Christopher Steele that relied on foreign sources.
The Senate tried passing a bill via unanimous consent on Thursday, which would force any campaign that was contacted by a foreign entity to report it to the FBI, but Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn blocked it.