A hidden-camera footage showing senior figures from the pro-Trump Great America PAC discussing and agreeing to accept “illicit donations from foreign backers” was released by The Telegraph’s investigations team on Monday.
The Trump campaign has already been in trouble this election season for soliciting donations from foreign leaders. However, neither U.S. regulations that prohibit candidates from accepting donations from foreign donors, nor the past scandals were enough to keep Great America PAC from attempting to bring in $2 million from an undercover reporter posing as a Chinese donor seeking to “influence” a Trump presidency.
According to The Telegraph, senior figures involved with the Great America PAC sought to channel $2 million from a Chinese donor into the campaign to elect the billionaire despite laws prohibiting donations from foreigners.
In return, undercover reporters purporting to represent the fictitious donor were assured that he would obtain “influence” if Donald Trump made it to the White House. Eric Beach, co-chairman of the Great America PAC, said that this donor’s support would be “remembered” in the event that Donald Trump won the election.
The investigation started months ago when an undercover reporter told Beach that a Chinese client was interested in supporting Donald Trump by donating to the Great America PAC. Beach reportedly was interested and suggested working around campaign rules about foreign donations by putting the donation through a social welfare organization, also known as a 501(c)(4). If the donation were put through in this way, the donor would also not have to be named.
After the initial contact, the reporter was then contacted by Jesse Benton, who called himself a “consultant” and claimed that Beach did not want a “paper trail.” Benton was convicted for his connection to a separate campaign scandal in May.
The disclosure raises questions about the origins of money being plowed into supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy.
The PAC “consultant” who brokered the deal proposed using as a conduit a type of organization he admitted is seen as being responsible for the “’dark money’ in politics”.
Watch the video below:
The same undercover reporters who acted as consultants for the Chinese donor also approached Clinton campaign fundraising organizations. None of the pro-Clinton PACs responded to these approaches, The Telegraph reported.
H/T: The Telegraph.