Trump accused of illegally soliciting foreign donations

WASHINGTON • Mr Donald Trump has his own e-mail scandal.

In a complaint filed  on Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission, two non-partisan campaign finance watchdogs alleged the Trump campaign solicited campaign contributions from foreign government officials.

Not only is it illegal for a candidate to accept money from foreign nationals, it is also a violation of the law to ask for it.

"Donald J. Trump's presidential campaign committee is violating black-letter federal law by sending campaign fund-raising e-mails to foreign nationals," Mr Paul Ryan, deputy executive director of the Washington-based Campaign Legal Centre, wrote in a statement announcing the complaint.

"It is a no-brainer that it violates the law to send fund-raising e-mails to members of a foreign government on their official foreign government e-mail accounts, and yet that's exactly what Trump has done repeatedly." The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The complaint, joined by Democracy 21, is based on reports from publications in Iceland, Scotland, Australia and England that members of those countries' legislatures have received e-mailed fund-raising pitches from the campaign.

"Help me make my first ever fund-raising e-mail the most successful fund-raising e-mail ever sent in the history of modern politics," read one pitch, referenced in the complaint, sent to members of Althingi, Iceland's parliament.

In the solicitation, Mr Trump is alleged to have asked for donations in amounts ranging from US$1 to US$2,700 (S$1.30 to S$3,600), and offered to match them with up to US$2 million of his own money.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2016, with the headline 'Trump accused of illegally soliciting foreign donations'. Print Edition | Subscribe