Meng Sends Letter to Federal Election Commission Urging it to Perform Official Investigation into Actions of Trump Campaign
Jul 11, 2017
Congresswoman sends letter in wake of stories on Donald Trump, Jr.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) sent a letter to the U.S. Federal Election Commission urging that it perform an official investigation into the actions of the Trump campaign to determine whether they violated federal election and criminal law. The letter follows two stories from the New York Times, last night’s “Trump Jr. Was Told in Email of Russian Effort to Aid Campaign,” and this afternoon’s “Russian Dirt on Clinton? ‘I Love It,’ Donald Trump Jr. Said,” which reported that the Trump campaign was eager to accept assistance from the Russian government.
“It is now undeniably clear that the Trump campaign willingly and eagerly met with an agent of the Russian government in an attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election,” said Meng. “What transpired was not only wholly un-American, against the very core of who we are as a nation and the values we hold dear, but also very likely illegal and a gross violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act. No person can accept contributions of any kind from a foreign national in connection with an election, period.”
“Donald Trump, Jr. published his email correspondence cited by the New York Times, but what else is being kept in the dark?” added Meng. “What other meetings and exchanges do we not know about? It is imperative that the FEC perform an investigation into the actions of the Trump campaign with all due haste. The American people deserve no less. It is the very integrity of our government at stake.”
The text of Meng’s letter is below and a copy of the correspondence can be found here.
July 11, 2017
The Honorable Steven T. Walther
U.S. Federal Election Commission
999 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20463
Dear Chairman Walther:
It has come to my attention that a complaint has been submitted to the Commission alleging that President Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign committee, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (based upon reporting contained in last night’s New York Times article “Trump Jr. Was Told in Email of Russian Effort to Aid Campaign” by Matt Apuzzo, Jo Becker, Adam Goldman, and Maggie Haberman). Pursuant to 52 U.S.C. 30109, I ask that you perform an official investigation into the alleged violations of federal election and criminal laws.
51 U.S.C. 30121(a) states:
“It shall be unlawful for a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation in connection with a Federal, State, or local election.”
“[It shall be unlawful for] a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.”
According to last night’s New York Times article, “Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy.” This meeting was also attended by President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as well as then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and occurred in Trump Tower – the headquarters of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
Based upon this reporting, not only did a foreign national “make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation [of a thing of value] in connection with a Federal, State, or local election” (purported damaging information on a political opponent), the President’s own campaign attempted to receive the contribution – in violation of 51 U.S.C. 20121.
Additionally, further reinforcing the claims of attempts to illegally contribute to a federal campaign (as well as attempts by the Trump campaign to receive such illegal contributions), just this afternoon Donald Trump, Jr. – via his personal Twitter account – released the full e-mail exchange referenced in the New York Times reports. In that e-mail exchange with Mr. Kushner and Mr. Manafort entitled “FW: Russia - Clinton - private and confidential”, the following appears:
“Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting. The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that . . . would be very useful to your father. This is very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Clearly, unacceptable encroachments upon the integrity of an American presidential election were not only offered by a foreign national, but were sought to be received by the Trump campaign. These acts are punishable under federal law, and they have been brought to your attention. Public reporting on this meeting is clear, as is the newly released e-mail exchange by Donald Trump, Jr. Respectfully, I urge you to perform the investigation into this matter required by federal law as quickly as possible.
Member of Congress
Cc: The Honorable Caroline C. Hunter, Vice Chair of the FEC
The Honorable Lee E. Goodman, FEC Commissioner
The Honorable Matthew S. Peterson, FEC Commissioner
The Honorable Ellen L. Weintraub, FEC Commissioner
The Honorable Jefferson B. Sessions, Attorney General of the United States
The Honorable Rod J. Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General of the United States
Mr. Robert S. Mueller, Special Counsel – U.S. Department of Justice
The Honorable Andrew G. McCabe, Acting Director of the FBI