An undercover operative for a conservative group likely violated rules against foreign campaign contributions while seeking to show Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was willing to break those same rules, the Federal Election Commission .The FEC said in newly released documents that Laura Loomer, an employee of Project Veritas Action, appeared to violate campaign finance rules by taking money from a Canadian national to buy Clinton campaign merchandise.An analysis written by the FEC general counsel’s office and unanimously backed by the agency’s commissioners accused Loomer of “knowingly providing substantial assistance to a foreign national in making a contribution.” However, the FEC said it wouldn’t seek any penalties in the case because of the small amount of money involved.
The FEC’s discussion of the knowingly standard for providing substantial assistance in helping a foreign individual make a contribution (pages 5-6 of the analysis) could be relevant to the Don Jr. Russian meeting controversy.
UPDATE: Project Veritas complains (and calls it “fake news”) that in my excerpt from the Bloomberg BNA story I did not note that the FEC decision (which I linked to twice above) also found that Clinton staffers who were part of the sting may have violated the law by accepting an apparent foreign contribution. That information of course is available in both the story I linked to and the analysis I linked to above twice. There is nothing “fake” or false in what I wrote above. At best this is incomplete—as is usually the case in the vast majority of my blog posts when I link to only a piece of a much larger story. People who want more information can click on the links for more information, as always. The fact that the person doing the stinging was found to violate the law seems to me a much bigger story than the person who was victim of the sting. Here is the relevant part of the analysis related to the Clinton campaign:
Barker and the Committee may also have violated the Act by accepting a foreign national contribution because, based on the facts available to them, a reasonable person might have inquired as to the source of the funds Loomer used to make a contribution. Although it is not clear from the video which portions, if any, of the conversation between Loomer and the Canadian national she overheard. Barker’s statements and actions suggest she may have been aware of sufficient facts to satisfy the “knowingly” standard. Specifically, Barker was told the Canadian national did not have a U.S. Passport or Green Card, she asked Tibe whether the Committee could accept a contribution from the Canadian national, and she was asked by Loomer whether an American could make a contribution on behalf of a foreign national. Moreover, the conversation between Loomer and the Canadian national arranging the transfer of money took place in close proximity to Barker. Based on these facts and circumstances. Barker and the Committee may have violated the prohibition against knowingly accepting foreign national contributions.