Campaign finance watchdog issues massive fine for foreign national’s Trump super PAC donation

The fine is the third-largest in FEC history, according to the Campaign Legal Center, the nonprofit group that filed the original complaint about the donations in 2019.

“We applaud the FEC for doing its job. Imposing this serious penalty helps protect the voices of voters from being drowned out by foreign corporations and other special interests,” Adav Noti, the vice president and legal director of Campaign Legal Center, said in a statement. “Super PACs should now be on notice that there are major consequences for breaking the ban on foreign contributions.”

CLC made the agency documents public late Friday afternoon. The CLC obtained the documents because of an agency practice that releases relevant findings to the complainants first, with the documents being made more broadly public roughly 30 days after the initial disclosure.

According to agency documents, Zekelman discussed the donations with officers of a U.S.-based subsidiary his company controls, Wheatland Tube, which ultimately contributed to America First Action three separate times in 2018.

U.S. law prohibits foreign nationals from directly or indirectly making a contribution or donation in connection with federal, state or local elections.

The original complaint was based on a 2019 story from The New York Times, which also first reported the fine on Friday.

The conciliation agreement between Zekelman’s companies — Zekelman Industries and Wheatland Tube — was accepted by the agency on Thursday. In…

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