Federal Election Commission issues fines for interference in US elections, not by Russians but the Labor party

It wasn’t the Russians working actively to undermine US Elections… it was Australians!

More to the point, ALP members.

The 2016 presidential campaign of US Senator Bernie Sanders has agreed to pay a $14,500 civil penalty to the FEC for foreign government election meddling, “without admitting liability.” This comes as a result of a complaint filed by former NH House Speaker Bill O’Brien regarding a Project Veritas Action hidden-camera video exposing the Australian Labor Party colluding with the Sanders campaign.

Sounds remarkably like the scam that Matt McCarten organised for Labour here. It is just getting going in US press:

In February 2016, shortly after the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a conservative activist group released videos purporting to show Australian youths working with primary winner Bernie Sanders’ campaign in New Hampshire and other states while they received monetary stipends.

Those stipends, as well as their transportation costs, were paid for by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) as part of an education program ultimately funded by the Australian government.

The youths were seen in videos tearing down campaign signs in New Hampshire that were promoting Donald Trump for president. Those videos were recorded by Project Veritas, a self-described nonprofit engaged in “investigative film journalism.”

Project Veritas also taped the young people engaging in conventional campaign activities on behalf of the Sanders campaign, and describing the stipends they receive in the videos.

After Project Veritas released the videos, a complaint was filed with the Federal Election Commission in March 2016 by Republican former New Hampshire House speaker William O’Brien. He charged that the labor party made “prohibited foreign contributions” and the Sanders campaign broke the law by accepting those prohibited contributions from foreign nationals.

The FEC has now issued findings verifying O’Brien’s allegations in conciliation agreements with the Sanders camp and the ALP.

In separate agreements filed on Feb. 14, the FEC writes that by paying the youths’ transportation costs and stipends, the party made an illegal contribution to a U.S. political campaign and the Sanders campaign broke the law by accepting paid services by the Australians.

The Sanders campaign and the ALP each agreed to pay a fine of $14,500, and “without admitting liability,” agreed not to further contest the commission’s finding that the campaign accepted, and the ALP made, a $24,422 “prohibited in-kind foreign contribution.”

The Guardian Australia quoted an ALP source as saying the party was surprised that the FEC decided to pursue the matter, “but it’s worth having the fight over, so we’re just ending it.”

“All parties send observers to overseas elections. It has happened for decades. This is a new and very strict interpretation,” the source told the Australian news outlet. “We don’t believe any rules were broken.”

Except they were and now they’ve been fined. This, of course, raises questions over those people from New Zealand who all decamped from here to work on Clinton’s campaign. I know of many Young Labour people and several National party people who went and worked on Clinton’s campaign. Presumably they were in breach of these same laws.

On Wednesday, Bernie Sanders’ political team responded to WMUR’s request for comment with a statement:

“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 folks on the campaign managing volunteers did not believe the stipend disqualified them from being volunteers.

“In order to avoid a long and expensive fight with the FEC over the technical status of these young people, the campaign agreed to pay the FEC a small settlement but did not agree that it broke any rules.”

View the conciliation agreement with the Sanders campaign here.

According to the agreement with the Sanders campaign, the FEC found that in November 2015, the labor party asked the campaign committee “to allow Australian delegates to be placed as volunteers with the committee. The committee agreed and proceeded to make arrangements for the arrivals of delegates to various campaign offices of the committee.’

The findings continue, “The committee treated the ALP delegates no differently from any other campaign out-of-town volunteers and was aware that they were receiving a stipend from ALP.”

The findings say that the Australians “engaged in hands-on activity typical of volunteers while placed with the committee, including encouraging voter attendance at campaign events, recruiting volunteers, canvassing with volunteers and planning events. These activities indicate that the delegates provided campaign services to the committee.”

O’Brien told WMUR in an interview Tuesday that he is dissatisfied with the conciliation agreements and intends to ask the U.S. Justice Department in Washington and the U.S. Attorney in New Hampshire to begin a criminal investigation.

“I’m disappointed that it’s not comprehensive,” he said. “It doesn’t go into the Australian government funding. And I’m disappointed that it doesn’t go with greater specificity into the actual things that they were doing. I’m disappointed that they didn’t go to what was the effect on the campaign.”

It’s basically the Australian government using the conduit of a socialist party to assist the socialist candidate in the United States,” O’Brien said, adding that there appears to be “two sets of rules” for Republicans and Democrats.

I will bet dollars to knobs of goat poo that Labour here are caught as well, along with a few idiot National party people whom I know campaigned for Clinton.

Here is the original Project Veritas video that caused all this:

-Project Veritas, WMUR

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.