Donald Trump Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Prompted by a WhoWhatWhy investigation, two watchdog groups asked the Department of Justice to probe the Trump campaign’s illegal solicitation of contributions from foreign donors. The evidence suggests that DOJ did nothing.

Following a WhoWhatWhy investigation in July, which showed that the campaign of Donald Trump had continued to solicit contributions from foreign nationals after having been informed that this was illegal, two watchdogs groups asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to look into the matter.

The evidence suggests, however, that DOJ is not investigating what seem to be willful violations of campaign finance laws.

In our initial story, which was cited by the watchdog groups as evidence, we noted that the campaign of the GOP nominee had repeatedly asked several foreign legislators to donate money to Trump’s White House bid. It would seem logical that, as part of any probe, our sources would be contacted by DOJ or the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which was also asked to investigate this violation.

That, however, has not happened. None of the foreign legislators WhoWhatWhy contacted, including Australian MP Terri Butler and British MP Bob Blackman, had heard from DOJ.

Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, said DOJ has also not reached out to them regarding an investigation. The group, together with Democracy 21, had petitioned the Justice Department to look into the illegal solicitations.

Even if DOJ decides to look into this issue at a later date, for now the Trump campaign will have gotten away with breaking the law. While WhoWhatWhy noted in July that this investigation puts DOJ in a tough spot because it could be accused of taking sides, the repeated violation of the law was so obvious and brazen in this case that nobody could have faulted the department if it had decided to act.

While DOJ could conceivably initiate a probe after the election, that would matter little to Trump. A fine levied in December, for example, would be a mere slap on the wrist compared to news stories about how the self-styled law-and-order candidate had repeatedly violated the law in attempt to enrich his campaign’s bank account.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from DoJ seal (Department of Justice) and Trump flag (VCU CNS / Flickr – CC BY-NC 2.0).


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