Campaign Finance Charges Against Ukrainegate Figures an Encouraging Sign

October 10, 2019 – Statement of Common Cause V.P. for Policy & Litigation Paul S. Ryan.

The arrest and indictment of Soviet-born agents of Rudy Giuliani for illegally funneling foreign money into Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential run is an encouraging sign that the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York will enforce the laws even if Main Justice is run by Trump-apologist William Barr. The charges of conspiracy to funnel foreign dollars into U.S. elections against Florida businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman paint a troubling picture of the free flow of foreign money into our elections due to insufficient safeguards and lax enforcement.

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Today’s indictments though, likely represent only the tip of the iceberg in terms of foreign meddling in general but also by Parnas and Fruman. Both men were also heavily involved in the efforts by the White House and President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate unsubstantiated allegations against Trump’s political rival Joe Biden. Common Cause has filed a Justice Department complaint alleging that those efforts violated the prohibition on soliciting contributions from foreign nationals in US elections. We plan to forward that complaint to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in light of Attorney General William Barr’s conduct to date shielding President Trump and others many from any and all investigations.

To read Common Cause’s DOJ and FEC complaints, click here.