DOJ & FEC Complaints Filed Against Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Campaign for Illegal Solicitation of Contribution from Foreign National
- David Vance
Today Common Cause filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Donald Trump Jr., in his role with the Trump campaign, illegally solicited a political contribution from a foreign national—in the form of opposition research information he believed would be damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Trump Jr. admitted to The New York Times that on June 9, 2016, he met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who had promised him “damaging information about Hillary Clinton.” By that time his father had already secured the Republican nomination for President and Trump campaign chairman Paul J. Manfort also attended the meeting at Trump Tower as did Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump Jr. issued the statement to say that he had not in fact obtained the promised information but instead had been misled and lobbied on specific U.S.-Russian foreign policy issues. Nonetheless Trump Jr.’s meeting constitutes an illegal solicitation of a foreign national “contribution” by him and the Trump campaign. Federal campaign finance law defines “contribution” to include anything of value given for the purpose of influencing a federal election. And federal law prohibits any person from soliciting or receiving a contribution from a foreign national.
“These laws exist to safeguard U.S. national security and Donald Trump Jr. appears to have violated the law in order to obtain information helpful to his father’s campaign for the presidency,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “These actions are part of a troubling pattern of President Trump, members of his family and key advisors acting as if they are above the law. Trump’s family and inner circle are not above the law, and we urge the Justice Department and the FEC to fully investigate this apparent violation and hold Trump Jr. and the campaign accountable if appropriate.”
“Donald Trump Jr. played an active role in his father’s campaign and made a point of inviting then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner to the meeting with Veselnitskaya,” said Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause Vice President for Policy and Litigation. “Trump Jr. appears to have been treating the election as some sort of reality TV game show, with a goal of winning at all costs. However there are laws on the books prohibiting the solicitation of anything of value from a foreign national to influence a U.S. election and those laws appear to have been violated by Trump Jr.”
To read the DOJ complaint, click here.
To read the FEC complaint, click here.