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The Chinese guy violated the law as foreigners are not allowed to donate cash to political campaigns. Ironically enough this guy is also a member of the same group that oversaw donations from Chinese nationals with links to the Chinese government / intelligence services during Bill's campaign. Clinton was investigated for taking illegal contributions during her Senate run and was fined for breaking the law.
In China, it’s called “guanxi,” translated as “connections” or “relationships.”
“There is a long-standing tradition in Chinese culture and history of building relationships. And money can come into that as well,” said James Mann, a former foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and author of four books on U.S.-China relations who is currently an author-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University. “It can be as benign as cultivating someone who can help get your kid into college to buying them off.”
Wang Wenliang, the Chinese billionaire whose $120,000 in donations in 2013 to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s campaign and inaugural committee have been identified in news reports as a part of a federal investigation into McAuliffe, has spent much time and money on guanxi in the United States over the past six years.
He made headlines last year when news reports revealed a $2 million donation in 2013 to the Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit run by the political family with deep ties to McAuliffe. The governor is a former Democratic Party chairman, major party fundraiser and board member of the Clinton Global Initiative, part of the foundation.
In 2010, a grant from Rilin launched the Center on U.S.-China Relations at New York University. Two years later, Wang pledged $25 million to support and expand NYU’s Global Network University. He is a member of NYU’s board of trustees and is also a donor and advisory committee member at Harvard University’s Asia Center.
“Mr. Wang, a principal in Dandong Port, is a Chinese-American business leader with interests in ports, real estate, agribusiness and other areas of business. We helped Mr. Wang’s business in 2013 to make the largest purchase of Virginia soybeans in the commonwealth’s history. Mr. Wang has continued to explore other opportunities to invest in the United States over the years and has also supported philanthropic causes here.”
McGuireWoods introduced Wang “to then-private citizen Terry McAuliffe” during the McDonnell administration, Hodges said.
“To the best of my recollection, this occurred shortly after the soybean agreement was announced,” he said.
McAuliffe said Tuesday that he was “not sure he ever met” Wang.
“I know the folks who worked on his company,” he said, insisting the donation is legal in any event because Wang has held a green card since 2007.
McAuliffe added that he and the Clintons “travel in the same circles” and that donors to the Clinton Foundation have been “friends of mine for years and years.”
What all the connections amount to, Mann said, is building influence, but to what purpose?
“Is this simply personal, or is there some purpose related to Chinese intelligence,” he said. “It certainly raises that question.”
He noted that Wang’s work on embassies and in ports require close ties to China’s ruling Communist Party and its security apparatus. Wang has also been a delegate to China’s National People’s Congress, the nation’s “rubber stamp” legislature, Mann said, though he considered that of lesser importance.
“In the last 10 or 15 years, as China’s businesses have developed, the party has shown greater tolerance of people rising in business who aren’t party members. But even if you’re not a party member, you have to be on good terms with the party,” he said.
The ban on political contributions and expenditures by foreign nationals was first enacted in 1966 as part of the amendments to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), an "internal security" statute. The goal of the FARA was to minimize foreign intervention in U.S. elections by establishing a series of limitations on foreign nationals. These included registration requirements for the agents of foreign principals and a general prohibition on political contributions by foreign nationals. In 1974, the prohibition was incorporated into the Federal Election Campaign Act (the FECA), [HTML] [PDF] giving the Federal Election Commission (FEC) jurisdiction over its enforcement and interpretation.
This brochure has been developed to help clarify the rules regarding the political activity of foreign nationals; however, it is not intended to provide an exhaustive discussion of the election law. If you have any questions after reading this, please contact the FEC in Washington, D.C., at 1-800-424-9530 or 202-694-1100. Members of the press should contact the FEC Press Office at 202-694-1220 or at the toll free number listed above.
Except where otherwise noted, all citations refer to the Act and FEC regulations. Advisory Opinions (AOs) issued by the Commission are also cited.
The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.
Who is a Foreign National?
The following groups and individuals are considered "foreign nationals" and are, therefore, subject to the prohibition:
Foreign political parties;
Individuals with foreign citizenship; and
Immigrants who do not have a "green card."
Domestic Subsidiaries and Foreign-Owned Corporations
A U.S. subsidiary of a foreign corporation or a U.S. corporation that is owned by foreign nationals may be subject to the prohibition, as discussed below.
PAC Contributions for Federal Activity
A domestic subsidiary of a foreign corporation may not establish a federal political action committee (PAC) to make federal contributions if:
The foreign parent corporation finances the PAC's establishment, administration, or solicitation costs; or
Individual foreign nationals:
Participate in the operation of the PAC;
Serve as officers of the PAC;
Participated in the selection of persons who operate the PAC; or
Make decisions regarding PAC contributions or expenditure. 11 CFR 110.20(i).
(See also AOs 2000-17, 1995-15, 1990-8, 1989-29, and 1989-20.)