Judicial Watch Calls on FEC to Investigate McCain Presidential Fundraising Luncheon Held in London
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it filed a formal complaint, dated April 22, 2008, with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) related to a fundraising luncheon held at London’s Spencer House to benefit Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign. The venue for the event was apparently donated to the campaign by foreign nationals, in violation of federal campaign finance laws.
“Recent news reports suggest that Sen. John McCain and John McCain for President may have accepted an in-kind contribution from foreign nationals Lord Rothschild OM GBE and the Hon. Nathaniel Rothschild of Great Britain in contravention of federal election laws,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton wrote in a complaint letter dated April 22, 2008. “On behalf of Judicial Watch and its supporters, I hereby request that the FEC investigate the matter.”
The McCain fundraiser was held on March 20, 2008 at London’s Spencer House, billed as “London’s most magnificent 18th century private palace.” The McCain campaign distributed an invitation indicating that the site for the luncheon had been provided “by kind permission of Lord Rothschild, OM GBE and the Hon. Nathaniel Rothschild,” who are both foreign nationals. In statements to the press, the McCain campaign referred to the luncheon as a “fundraiser.”
While it is, as yet, unclear how much money was raised during the luncheon, had the venue not been donated to the McCain campaign, the net profit from the event would have been significantly reduced. The donation of the venue, therefore, represents an illegal in-kind campaign contribution.
According to 2 U.S.C. § 441e, Contributions and donations by foreign nationals, it is illegal for any foreign national to “make a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value” to a Federal, State or Local election. (Judicial Watch filed a similar complaint on April 14, 2008, concerning a fundraiser by Elton John for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.)
“The Clinton campaign recently accepted an in-kind contribution in the form of a fundraising concert by Elton John. And now the McCain campaign has apparently run afoul of federal election laws with this foreign fundraiser. The FEC must treat these incidents seriously, and hold any campaign that accepts contributions from foreign nationals accountable. We cannot allow these presidential campaigns to play fast and loose with the law,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
To read Judicial Watch’s FEC complaint in its entirety, please click here.
April 24, 2008