October 10, 2019

Ranking Member Klobuchar Statement Regarding Arrests of Giuliani Associates on Campaign Finance Violations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with jurisdiction over the Federal Election Commission (FEC), released this statement following reports that two associates of Rudy Giuliani, who reportedly helped fund efforts to investigate one of President Donald Trump’s political rivals, have been arrested on charges of campaign finance violations. Klobuchar has sent two letters to the FEC in recent weeks calling for more information regarding potential campaign finance violations by President Trump and his associates.

The indictment specifically states that the purpose of campaign finance laws, “is to protect the United States electoral system from illegal foreign financial influence, and to further inform all candidates, their campaign committees, federal regulators, and the public of (i) the true sources of contributions to candidates for federal office; and (ii) any effort by foreign nationals to influence federal, State, or local elections with foreign money.”

“Today’s arrests show that two associates of Rudy Giuliani, the President’s personal lawyer, worked to undermine our democracy by setting up fake corporations to launder foreign money and funnel it into our election system. It is illegal for foreign nationals to donate to U.S. campaigns. In today’s indictment, the President’s own Department of Justice specifically states that the purpose of our campaign finance laws is to prevent foreign influence from shaping American elections. As the lead Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee, I have requested information from the FEC regarding this Administration’s potential campaign finance violations, and I will continue to push the Department of Justice and the FEC to follow the money and uphold the law.”

On October 8, Klobuchar requested information from the FEC regarding how they previously defined a “thing of value” and “anything of value” and to provide information on all past instances in which these were applied for enforcing campaign finance law. The letter, sent to Chair Ellen Weintraub, follows a decision by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that the President did not violate the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) after prosecutors reviewed a rough transcript of a July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the DOJ and the FEC stipulates that when the DOJ declines to criminally prosecute a violation, but finds that there is a probable violation, the Department is required to refer the matter to the FEC. Reports indicate that the DOJ did not refer the matter. That letter followed an October 2 letter from Klobuchar to the FEC expressing concern about those reports and requesting further information.