North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis and former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Bill Clark / CQ Appeal and Melissa Sue Gerrits / Getty Images
The FEC found reason to believe that Senators Tillis and John Bolton were violating laws banning foreigners from US elections.
The British company Cambridge Analytica was heavily involved in the strategy for the two Republicans’ campaigns.
But there is nothing the Commission can do about it because the statute of limitations has expired.
In 2019, the Federal Election Commission found reason to believe that both Senator Thom Tillis and former National Security Advisor John Bolton violated federal laws against foreign interference in US elections in 2014 by working with the now-defunct British consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
But the commission, which found that the Republican Party of North Carolina and an eternal Republican candidate in Oregon are also in conflict with the same laws, doesn’t appear to be doing anything about it, as the five-year statute of limitations on both cases has now expired and neither has criminal reprimands have been made.
“Once again, the Commission has failed to take meaningful enforcement measures in the event of complaints about serious violations of the ban on foreigners,” write Commissioners Shana Broussard and Ellen Weintraub in a statement of reasons. “Despite the Commission’s previous commitment to prioritize foreign affairs, that commitment seems, in retrospect, to have paid lip service as we continue to honor our commitments to the American people.”
The two commissioners also said that former President Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who both worked with the UK firm during their 2016 presidential campaigns, may also have broken the same laws, but that two former Republican commissioners – Matthew Petersen and Caroline Hunter – didn’t want to do anything.
“They were prepared to proceed only with the claims that were already statute-barred and to bring the commission to failure,” the two wrote, referring to the claims against Bolton and Tillis.
The story goes on
“Unfortunately there is no public explanation as to why they would not pursue the later allegations.” [against Trump and Cruz]”They continue.” Instead, the American people remain in the dark as to why the commission was unable to raise the necessary four votes to pursue these grave allegations of foreign intervention in the 2016 election. “
Cambridge Analytica’s work with Tillis, Bolton, Cruz, and Trump
The saga began in March 2018 when the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal – in which the company misappropriated personal data from over 87 million Facebook users – came to a head.
The watchdog organization Common Cause filed a complaint against Cambridge Analytica itself, while the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint against John Bolton’s Super-PAC. Two months later, the North Carolina Democratic Party leader filed a complaint against Senator Tillis and the Republican Party. Another complaint against the Resistance Committee Action Fund’s Trump campaign is also included in the case.
Each lawsuit for alleged alien ban violations was broadly similar, claiming that foreign nationals – in this case, UK employees of Cambridge Analytica – had “significantly larger roles in the campaigns” and that foreign nationals “on and off some” Instances, the election-related activity of the committees took part “, it says in the justification.
A 2018 report by the Center for Public Integrity details the scope of Bolton’s coordination with the UK firm. In addition, the Campaign Legal Center’s complaint alleged that Bolton’s Super-PAC was involved in illegal coordinated activities with the Tillis Campaign and the North Carolina Republican Party during the former’s 2014 campaign.
The commission voted in July 2019, finding reason to believe that Tillis, Bolton, the North Carolina GOP, and even Oregon Congressional candidate Art Robinson, had violated the alien ban, and launched an investigation by the commission. But then the FEC lost its quorum for the remainder of the year and most of 2020, jeopardizing the panel’s work and eventually causing the statutes of limitations on the 2014 cases to expire.
The FEC consists of six commissioners and the commission loses the quorum if there are fewer than four commissioners. In 2019, then Vice-Chairman Matthew Petersen resigned and reduced the commission to three.
“Unfortunately, the Office of General Counsel’s investigation into 2014 activities has never gained momentum,” wrote Broussard and Weintraub.
The commission voted to close the file on September 30th this year, apparently ending the matter before the FEC. Ann Ravel, a former FEC Democratic commissioner, told Insider that a criminal referral to the Justice Department was unlikely, as would have been noted in documents released this week.
“It’s unlikely they would if they didn’t take action on this,” she said. “A referral to the Justice Department also requires four votes.”
Tillis, Cruz, the Trump campaign, and a Bolton representative did not respond to insider requests for comment.
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