FEC watchdog raises concerns about foreign money in US politics
The Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) Office of the Inspector General has warned that the agency is not doing enough to identify and crack down on foreign money in U.S. politics.
The watchdog said that the FEC currently relies on political committees to identify the citizenship of donors who have foreign addresses, an approach that “poses significant national security risks, particularly in light of recent high-profile reports of foreign influence in U.S. elections.”
That warning came in a Monday report reviewing the FEC’s oversight of former President Trump’s inaugural committee, which received multiple donations from individuals with foreign addresses and a $500,000 donation from Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of a Venezuelan state-owned oil firm.
Federal rules prohibit foreign nationals from making donations to political campaigns and presidential inaugural committees. But the FEC has rarely investigated allegations of foreign influence in U.S. elections.
Axios was the first to report on the FEC watchdog’s warning Monday.
Last month, federal prosecutors indicted Tom Barrack, the chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, on charges that he secretly worked to influence Trump’s campaign and administration on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
Several others in Trump’s orbit have been investigated over alleged efforts to influence U.S. politics on behalf of foreign interests.
The Justice Department is reportedly investigating former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s dealings with Ukraine and Turkey. Two former Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, are awaiting trial on charges of funneling foreign money into U.S. elections.