By Gabe Kaminsky
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns are being fined thousands after unlawfully hiring illegal aliens for top staffer roles, according to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruling obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Aug. 11 ruling, which the FEC has not yet made public, concluded both Sanders’ campaigns broke federal law after “knowingly” employing three “foreign national” staffers from Mexico and Argentina who participated in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Both campaigns have agreed to pay an FEC penalty of $15,000 combined.
“They were tasked with planning and executing events intended to mobilize the Spanish-speaking and Latino communities to support Sanders and serving as contacts for Latino media outlets,” the FEC ruling on the staffers says. “The employees worked to help craft and deliver campaign policy on the issue of immigration and other issues of interest to the Latino community.”
The undocumented DACA staffers for both campaigns included former Latino Outreach Organizer Maria Bélen Sisa, former National Latino Outreach Strategist Cesar Vargas and former Press Secretary for Latino Outreach Erika Andiola, according to the ruling. Andiola and Vargas are from Mexico while Sisa is from Argentina, the ruling said.
DACA is an Obama-era policy that grants illegal aliens under 16 who came to the U.S. work permits but does not confer citizenship. Sanders has supported the policy and President Joe Biden will codify it as a federal regulation, the Department of Homeland Security announced last Tuesday.
“I find it incredibly ironic and not at all surprising that the same people who were so outraged by the Russia hoax were at the same time violating laws to prevent foreign influence in our elections,” Dan Backer, counsel to the Coolidge Reagan Foundation (CRF), a First Amendment watchdog that filed an ethics complaint in 2019 on Sanders hiring illegals, which initiated the FEC ruling, told the DCNF.
The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 bars any “foreign national” from contributing directly or indirectly during a federal, state or local election. The act also prohibits foreign nationals from “having involvement in the management of a political committee,” the FEC said in its Sanders ruling.
The ruling comes on the heels of Sanders’ 2016 campaign entering into an FEC agreement in 2018 to pay a penalty of $14,500 for accepting volunteer delegates from the Australian Labor Party — a left-leaning party currently running Australia’s government. Sanders’ presidential campaign violated The Federal Election Campaign Act since the foreigners provided campaign services to Sanders’ committee, the FEC found.
“The law is for thee and not for me,” Backer added. “Bernie is like every other corrupt, entitled woke elitist — the law only applies when convenient to their political enemies.”
The FEC declined to comment on the Sanders ruling, telling the DCNF that case rulings “are made public 30 days after the Commission closes the matter and sends notification letters to the parties involved.”
A spokesman for Sanders did not respond to a request for comment, nor did the undocumented staffers in question. Sanders’ senate campaign did not respond, nor a lawyer for his presidential campaigns.
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