The Federal Election Commission (FEC) fined Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign $14,500 for accepting illegal in-kind foreign contributions from the Australian Labor Party (ALP) during the 2016 elections.
The ruling stems from a February 2016, conservative activist group Project Veritas video showing Australian nationals working for the Sanders campaign on the dime of the Australian taxpayer funded ALP. …
The ALP contacted the Sanders campaign according to the FEC and asked permission to allow Australian nationals to be inserted into the campaign as volunteers. The Sanders campaign accepted the ALP’s request, despite knowing the ALP would be paying Australians a daily stipend in addition to covering the cost of their flights to the United States.
While volunteering with the Sanders campaign, the Australians engaged in political activities “including encouraging voter attendance at campaign events, recruiting volunteers, canvassing with volunteers, and planning events,” according to the FEC.
The Sanders campaign “treated the ALP delegates no differently from any other campaign out-of-town volunteers and was aware that they were receiving a stipend from the ALP,” the FEC added.
The ALP spent $16,140 for the Australians’ flights to the United States and $8,282 for their daily stipends. The FEC determined that amounted to a $24,422 “prohibited in-kind foreign contribution” the Sanders campaign accepted from the ALP.
A Sanders spokesperson said in a statement to WMUR that the campaign doesn’t think it broke any rules.
“During the course of the campaign, thousands and thousands of young people from every state and many other countries volunteered. Among them were seven Australian young people who were receiving a modest stipend and airfare from the Australian Labor Party so they could learn about American politics,” the spokesperson said. “The folks on the campaign managing volunteers did not believe the stipend disqualified them from being volunteers.”
What a joke.