Bernie Sanders’ hiring of non-American campaign advisers may violate federal election laws, complaint says

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Bernie Sanders was hit with a grievance this week, claiming his presidential marketing campaign violated federal election legal guidelines by using non-People in advisory positions.

A brand new grievance by the Coolidge Reagan Basis filed with the Federal Election Fee (FEC) notes that three members of the Sanders marketing campaign are overseas nationals, which seems to be a violation of federal election legal guidelines that prohibit overseas interference.

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Maria Belén Sisa, Sanders’ deputy nationwide press secretary who joined the marketing campaign final month, was among the many staffers named within the grievance, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon. Sisa claims to be an unlawful immigrant whose residency is protected underneath Deferred Motion for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program for aiding unlawful immigrants who got here to the U.S. as youngsters.

Sisa lately induced an uproar after invoking an anti-Semitic “twin allegiance” trope of Jewish People whereas defending Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and questioning whether or not American Jews, together with Sanders, have been loyal to the US.

The grievance notes that Sisa not solely obtained a wage from Sanders’ 2016 presidential marketing campaign, she additionally contributed cash to it and is now serving in “an advisory place” within the 2020 marketing campaign – all of that are “direct and severe violations” of federal election legal guidelines.

“Senator Sanders and Bernie 2020 is allowing a overseas nationwide, Ms. Sisa, to serve in an advisory place which permits her to straight or not directly take part within the decision-making strategy of individuals with regard to election-related actions in violation of FEC laws,” the grievance reads.

“Senator Sanders and Bernie 2020 is allowing a overseas nationwide, Ms. Sisa, to serve in an advisory place which permits her to straight or not directly take part within the decision-making strategy of individuals with regard to election-related actions in violation of FEC laws.”

— The grievance

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In keeping with the FEC guidelines, overseas nationals, who aren’t lawfully admitted everlasting residents, can’t straight or not directly take part in political campaigns. Such people are additionally barred from making political contributions.

The grievance additionally names two different overseas nationals on the Sanders’ 2016 marketing campaign, immigration activists Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas, who labored because the marketing campaign’s nationwide Latino outreach strategist and press secretary for Latino outreach, respectively.

“Because of the excessive profile of Cesar Vargas, Erika Andiola, and Maria Belén Sisa as main activists within the undocumented group, there may be motive to imagine that respondents are ‘overseas nationals’ inside the which means of 52 U.S.C. § 301219b)(2), and in violation of 11 C.F.R. § 110.20 (i) and A.O. 2004-26, straight or not directly participated within the decision-making strategy of individuals with regard to the election-related actions of Bernie 2016,” the grievance continued.

“There’s motive to imagine, having beforehand employed Ms. Sisa, that Bernie 2020 is at present, and knowingly, allowing a ‘overseas nationwide’ … to straight or not directly take part within the decision-making strategy of individuals with regard to the election-related actions of Bernie 2020.”

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The grievance calls on the FEC to research each the 2016 and the present presidential campaigns and take motion to curb the violations.

“The Fee ought to decide and impose applicable sanctions for any and all violations,” the grievance learn. “Additional, the Fee ought to enjoin respondents from any future violations and impose any crucial and applicable treatments to make sure respondents’ future compliance with the Federal Election Marketing campaign Act.”

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