Democrats Unlawfully Employed Foreign National for Campaign Efforts, Watchdog Says

Originally published September 28, 2023 6:00 pm PDT

According to a claim filed by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a prominent Democratic congressman and a prominent Democratic campaign committee have purportedly breached federal election law by collectively compensating over $700,000 to a company owned by a foreign national for campaign-related activities.

The complaint was submitted to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and it specifically identifies Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee as the alleged transgressors, according to a report from The Daily Wire.

You can read the complaint here:

La Machine, the firm under scrutiny, is located in Arizona and is headed by Antonio Valdovinos, a foreign national residing in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Valdovinos often openly acknowledges his foreign national status and the complaint from FACT argues that his political involvements and monetary contributions to U.S. campaigns are outright contraventions of existing laws that prohibit foreign nationals from such engagements.

Kendra Arnold, the Executive Director of FACT, emphasized the gravity of the allegations, stating, “Foreign nationals are barred from contributing in any substantive way, both financially or strategically, and given the facts here this is precisely what appears to have happened — repeatedly.”

She continued, outlining the implications of the involvement of Valdovinos in the political consulting landscape, “The monetary political donations made by Mr. Valdovinos would be egregious violations in and of themselves, and the fact he literally created a political consulting firm with a significant client list and billings is truly beyond the pale.”

The FEC complaint outlines substantial remunerations to La Machine and highlights numerous political donations made by Valdovinos to federal candidates since 2019, asserting the illegality of such transactions.

Disclosures reveal that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee disbursed $710,000 to La Machine for “voter canvassing” over the final quarter of 2022.

Additionally, Gallego For Arizona, the campaign committee for Ruben Gallego, compensated La Machine with $211,587.66 for varied services including consulting and petition gathering.

FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub clarified the legal stance regarding foreign nationals’ involvement in U.S. politics, unequivocally stating, “Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.”

She also warned of the consequences, asserting, “Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation. Any political campaign that receives an offer of a prohibited donation from a foreign source should report that offer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Valdovinos’ connection with Gallego and his immigration status have been openly acknowledged.

In 2018, Valdovinos was invited as Gallego’s guest at the State of the Union address in acknowledgment of his status as a “Dreamer,” Daily Wire notes.

Gallego remarked, “Like so many Dreamers, Antonio is a patriotic young man who is working hard and contributing to our community.”

He further commented on the uncertainty faced by Dreamers following the cessation of the DACA program, “And like hundreds of thousands of Dreamers across this country, his life was placed in limbo when Donald Trump made the cruel and callous decision to end the DACA program.”

Valdovinos’ political endeavors were even spotlighted in an off-Broadway musical titled, ¡Americano! Because We’re All Dreamers.

The show featured Valdovinos as a producer, as acknowledged in a Forbes interview.

To date, there has been no response to requests for comment from Valdovinos, Gallego, or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Nonetheless, federal courts, including recent judgments, have consistently deemed the DACA program unlawful, and past rulings from the FEC have sustained that Dreamers are indeed restricted from participating in political activities.

The current scenario brings to the forefront the longstanding and unequivocal federal stance against foreign interference in U.S. elections, and it remains to be seen how the unfolding investigation will impact the involved parties and the broader political landscape.