by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
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.
Republican and former New Hampshire House speaker William O’Brien filed a complaint with the FEC shortly after Project Veritas made the footage public, alleging the ALP had made “prohibited foreign contributions” to the Sanders campaign, according to WMUR.
The FEC levied the fine against the Sanders campaign in a Feb. 2016-issued conciliation agreement.
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.