WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33) sent a criminal referral to Attorney General Merrick Garland alleging that former President Donald Trump violated the Federal Election Campaign Act and Federal Election Commission regulations. Earlier this week, the former President appeared to directly solicit help for his re-election campaign from Russian President Vladimir Putin by requesting that Putin share negative information about President Biden and his family.  The Act, as well as FEC regulations, prohibit foreign nationals from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any American election and prohibits American political candidates from soliciting anything of value from foreign powers. The Members have requested that the DOJ open a formal investigation into this matter.

In the letter, the Members write:

Dear Attorney General Garland: 

Thank you for your service. We write to request that the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") launch a formal investigation into the actions of former U.S. President Donald Trump for potentially violating the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (the "Act")[1] and Federal Election Commission ("FEC") regulations. 

It is illegal for American political candidates to solicit a thing of value from foreign powers. On March 29, 2022, in a televised interview with Just the News, former President Trump publicly pushed an unsubstantiated claim about Hunter Biden's business dealings in Russia and asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to release any information that he might have about the situation. Former President Trump stated: 

Why did the mayor of Moscow's wife give the Bidens—both of them—three and a half million dollars? That's a lot of money. She gave him three and a half million dollars. So now I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it. I think we should know that answer. 

The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 expressly 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. Former President Trump, who has held himself out as a 2024 presidential candidate, potentially violated the Act and FEC regulations. He was soliciting a foreign power for dirt on a political opponent's son, which would be valuable to the former President's goal of getting re-elected.  

There is substantial evidence the former President is a candidate for office within the meaning of the Act and FEC regulations. On March 14, 2022, American Bridge 21st Century filed a complaint with the FEC accusing former President Trump of violating campaign finance laws by spending political funds for a potential 2024 presidential bid without officially declaring his candidacy. In the complaint, American Bridge 21st Century alleged, inter alia, that President Trump failed to file a Statement of Candidacy with the FEC in violation of the Act and FEC regulations. Despite former President Trump's numerous attempts to evade questions regarding a potential 2024 presidential campaign and his inability to provide a definitive response, he has undoubtedly held himself out as a "candidate" for purposes of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. 

If former President Trump is a "candidate," and it appears that he is, he violated federal election law when he asked Russian President Putin to release any information that he may have on Hunter Biden. Note, this is not the first time President Trump has sought the assistance of a foreign adversary, specifically President Putin, to unearth potentially damaging information on his political opponents and their families. In 2016, he asked Russia to find and release Hillary Clinton's e-mails. Additionally, in 2019, former President Trump was impeached for holding up critical Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine in exchange for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky providing unsubstantiated dirt on Trump's political opponent. 

We respectfully request that the DOJ launch a formal investigation into the immoral and un-American actions of former President Trump because they also appear to be illegal.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this critical matter. We appreciate your work and are willing and able to provide any support or assistance you may need. Please confirm receipt of this letter.



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