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Money & Influence 09.27.2019

Ukrainegate Campaign Finance Violation: No “Quid Pro Quo” Necessary & July 25 Phone Call Only “Tip of the Iceberg”

Fact Sheet

On September 23, 2019, Common Cause filed a complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging reason to believe that President Trump, Rudy Giuliani and other political operatives violated the federal law ban on soliciting, or substantially assisting the solicitation of, a “contribution” from a foreign national. The following is a summary of the law and facts detailed in the complaint, as well as some additional background information.

Money & Influence 09.23.2019

Common Cause v. Trump (Ukraine Contribution Solicitation)

Legal Filings

On September 23, 2019, Common Cause filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that President Donald Trump, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and other political operatives illegally solicited a political contribution from a foreign national—by urging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials to investigate Hunter Biden and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Money & Influence 08.12.2019

ALEC in Texas: Undercovering the Influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the Texas Legislature

Research and Reports

The report reveals which members of the Texas legislature have ties to ALEC and which recent state bills can be traced back to the organization. Additionally, the report documents how ALEC abuses its public charity status with the IRS, effectively making its corporate donors eligible for tax breaks for its funding of ALEC.

Money & Influence 08.2.2019

Common Cause v. Kobach

Legal Filings

On August 2, 2019, Common Cause filed complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging reason to believe that solicitations for campaign contributions to former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s Senate campaign distributed by We Build the Wall, Inc. violated multiple campaign finance laws. The email solicitation appears to violate the ban on corporate contributions to a federal candidate and the prohibition on candidates spending “soft money” in connection with their election. The email also lacks the “paid for by” disclaimer required by federal law when candidates solicit political contributions. 

Money & Influence 04.30.2019

Common Cause et al. v. Trump (Trump Tower Meeting Solicitation)

Legal Filings

On July 10, 2017, 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. On July 13, 2017, together with the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 amended and expanded its July 10 complaint, adding more facts and alleged violations. On April 30, 2019, Common Cause, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed a supplement to its 2017 complaint with the FEC, to include new facts and legal analysis from Special Counsel Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller's report underscores the validity of the allegations made in 2017 by Common Cause, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21.

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