Money in politics and elections is a common theme in this column. It is almost never in a complimentary way. Citizens United just made a bad situation worse. One of my many issues with it is that it made it too easy for foreign money to get involved in our elections. Some Americans may feel that there should be no limit on donations and that money is speech; however I have yet to meet the American who wants foreign money involved.
Donald Trump has broken every conventional rule of politics on his way to what is presumably the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Now it appears he broke a major campaign finance law. That leaves me with three questions? Was he simply ignorant of the law? Did he willfully violate it out of his feeling of being above the law? Did he willfully violate it because he knows the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is basically dysfunctional and lacks sufficient enforcement capabilities?
It was recently reported by a multitude of reliable outlets that the Trump campaign has sent multiple e-mail donation solicitations to elected officials in the UK, Iceland and Australia. The e-mails went out under his signature as well as those of his sons Donald, Jr. and Eric. The federal law that prohibits foreign donations in American elections also states: “It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate the ban or solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them.”
Should this become an issue – and I’m disappointed by the fact that thus far it really hasn’t – I’m certain Trump will blame it on the Prosper Group, an Indiana outfit the campaign has enlisted to help it with e-mail fundraising. I’m not an attorney and Trump has many in his employ but, I’d suggest Trump familiarize himself with agency law under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The UCC holds a principal liable for the actions of their agent. If it didn’t everyone would simply hire someone to do their dirty deeds and when the agent got caught do a “Pontius Pilot”.
I think the answer falls more in the realm of the second and third questions. Trump has a history of feeling entitled to “exemptions” from the law and noble moral conduct. My guess is that stems from a privileged lifetime membership in the Lucky Sperm Cell Club. He feels that the rules apply to those poor saps he is constantly trying to exploit. Trump also knows that if and when the FEC catches up with him and actually does something it will be so far after the fact as to be basically irrelevant.
If this was a mistake it shows sloppiness well beyond what can be tolerated in an American President. What are we going to have; opps we accidentally bombed London and Ottawa? If it was a conscious effort to raise funds it was among other things stupid. Trump is far from popular with the elected officials in any of those countries. At the demand of the citizens, the British Parliament held hours of debate as to whether or not to bar him from the country. During that debate not a single MP rose to defend Trump.
If it’s the first then he and his staff have again shown they don’t know what they are doing and he is certainly underserving of your support. If it is the second, third or some combination of them then Trump lacks the character to be President. If he can’t run a campaign how is he going to run the nation?
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