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Trump and the Foreign Agents Registration Act

Why is Manafort and the Trump campaign in trouble? Let’s go back to the basics. The law in question is the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1966. It bans foreign nationals from providing “anything of value… in connection with” an election. And it makes soliciting or accepting such contributions a crime. Below is the FEC page on the act.

A lot of people are arguing that since we are just talking about information – in this case stolen emails from the Clinton campaign – but really, it’s stuff the voters should know – no laws could have been broken. But it is not the information that is the crime. It is the “working together with foreigners” to influence the election (AKA collusion) that is the crime. The information, where it came from, how much of an influence it really had, “information wants to be free”, “but the first amendment”, and all that is immaterial. It is not even important whether Russia should be considered an enemy. Likewise the motives of any of the people involved don’t matter. The law is simple: if you work for or volunteer for a political campaign you can’t work with foreigners to influence elections. Period.

In case you haven’t noticed, Team Trump was full of a bunch of third rate yahoos who apparently didn’t even know the rules of the game they were playing. They were openly and gleefully plotting federal crimes without apparently even knowing how stupid they were being.

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