The federal election oversight agency has levied a record fine against the Super PAC that backed former presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, who ran as a Republican in 2016, and a Chinese-owned corporation, according to a watchdog group that filed the initial complaint.
The Campaign Legal Center had asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to impose sanctions in 2016, after The Intercept reported that American Pacific International Capital, Inc (APIC) had made $1.3 million in contribution to the Right to Rise PAC.
BREAKING: The @FEC has handed down record fines for foreign interference in 2016 presidential election by a Chinese corporation. Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise accepted $1.3 MILLION illegally. pic.twitter.com/7zmEEiAqQj
— Corey Goldstone (@cgfromdc) March 11, 2019
APIC released a statement saying they are a U.S company and voluntarily agreed to the settlement with the FEC.
“The Commission expressly acknowledged that the company did not knowingly or willfully violate any U.S. campaign finance laws,” APIC said in a statement provided to Reuters. “American Pacific International Capital remains committed to compliance with all campaign finance laws and regulations.”
The Campaign Legal Center, however, called it a victory for transparency.
The FEC hit Jeb Bush’s super-PAC with a record fine for accepting a 7-figure donation from a company owned by Chinese nationals who were in business with Bush’s brother, Neil, according to new documents obtained by Mother Jones. https://t.co/pBMfhMOl4E
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) March 11, 2019
“Today’s action is a rare and remarkable step by the FEC, and a reminder that safeguarding our elections against foreign interference is in America’s vital national security interests,” said Campaign Legal Center President Trevor Potter.
The FEC alleges that two Chinese citizens, Gordon Tang and Huaidan Chen, who are prohibited from making campaign donations, funneled their contributions through APIC to avoid detection.
APIC was fined $550,000 for making the contributions and Right to Rise was fined $390,000 for soliciting a foreign national contribution.
Federal law prohibits foreign nationals or foreign companies from contributing to U.S. political campaigns or candidates.
SCOOP: Right to Rise, Jeb Bush’s super-PAC, is getting hit with a record fine for accepting an illegal foreign contribution (of $1.3 million) from his brother’s Chinese business associates https://t.co/TTXyuP5Lfq pic.twitter.com/okj2YK7jq5
— Daniel Schulman (@DanielSchulman) March 11, 2019
The documents released by the Campaign Legal Center do not implicate Bush, who spent months before formally launching his campaign fundraising for the Right to Rise PAC.
Right to Rise spent millions trying to help elect Bush president. He ultimately lost the Republican nominating contest to Donald Trump.
The PAC was dissolved after Bush was defeated. A representative could not be contacted for comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Facebook has greatly reduced the distribution of our stories in our readers’ newsfeeds and is instead promoting mainstream media sources. When you share to your friends, however, you greatly help distribute our content. Please take a moment and consider sharing this article with your friends and family. Thank you.