A major Democratic campaign committee and a Democrat congressman illegally paid a firm run by a foreign national over $700,000 for campaign work, according to a watchdog complaint.
The Democrat’s payments are a violation of federal election law.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hired the services of Arizona-based firm, La Machine.
The firm is run by Antonio Valdovinos, a foreign national living in the United States, thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Despite the Democrat paying for the services, there strict laws in place forbid ay foreign national from working on a US political campaign, or contributing money to them.
According to a complaint from the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), Valdovinos has done both.
“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,” said Kendra Arnold, the watchdog group’s executive director.
“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 complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), obtained by The Daily Wire, shows payments to Valdovinos’ firm, including multiple political donations from Valdovinos to federal candidates.
La Machine was paid a whopping $710,000 for “voter canvassing” in the final three months of 2022, campaign finance disclosures show.
The campaign committee for Democrat Ruben Gallego, Gallego For Arizona, paid the foreign national $211,587,66 for services for his campaign, including consulting and petition gathering.
The firm’s website even lists Gallego, his wife, and other Arizona Democrats as its clients.
Valdovinos made at least seventeen contributions to federal candidates in 2019 up to 2022, which the complaint states are illegal.
Valdovinos’s relationship with Gallego is publically known.
The foreign national was Gallego’s guest at the State of the Union address due to his status as an Obama “Dreamer” in 2018.
“Like so many Dreamers, Antonio is a patriotic young man who is working hard and contributing to our community,” Gallego said at the time.
“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.”
Further, there was an off-Broadway musical made about Valdovinos called ¡Americano! Because We’re All Dreamer.
Valdovinos was the show’s producer, according to a Forbes interview.
Federal courts have repeatedly ruled that the DACA program is illegal.
There is also precedent from the Federal Election Commission on cases similar to Valdovinos’ ruling the Dreamers are barred from political activity.
In a complaint filed in 2019 regarding foreign nationals working for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, the defendants argued: “DACA recipients are in a special category of foreign nationals for which the foreign national prohibition is of far less concern, and that enforcing it against them would violate their First Amendment rights.”
But the FEC ruled otherwise, stating that DACA recipients are foreign nationals.
The FEC wrote in its ruling:
“DACA status does not confer citizenship, lawful permanent residence, or any other immigration status.”
“Thus, at the time of their employment by the [Bernie Sanders campaign], the [three DACA recipients] were foreign nationals under the Act,” it added.
In 2019, FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said that the caselaw was clear for foreign nationals getting involved in US politics.
“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 concerning a US election,” Weintraub said.
“This is not a novel concept.”
“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.”
Gallego is expected to be Kari Lake’s competition for the seat in the Senate races in 2024.