The Australian Labor Party may be in violation of U.S. election laws after it was discovered they were compensating “volunteers” sent to work for the Bernie Sanders campaign in America. Federal election law provides guidelines for use of foreign nationals in campaigning, which clearly state that any foreign national working on a campaign in America cannot be compensated, and that covered travel expenses cannot exceed $1,000. However, it appears the Labor Party in Australia is ignoring this law in a bid to ensure that Bernie Sanders is the next President of the United States of America.
The Washington Times reports that an undercover video taken by Project Veritas reveals that the Australian Labor Party may be in violation of American election laws. The video shows an undercover reporter speaking with Bernie Sanders campaign volunteers from Australia that reveal they are being compensated by the Australian Labor Party for their time campaigning for Bernie Sanders.
The video begins with the Australian Labor Party volunteers with the Bernie Sanders campaign violating U.S. election laws regarding the removal of campaign signs. The volunteers are seen and heard discussing the removal of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaign signage. One volunteer admits he has removed dozens of Trump signs, as well as replaced Hillary Clinton campaign materials with Sanders material. This is in violation of U.S. laws regarding the “placement and removal of political advertising,” in which it is deemed illegal to “remove, deface or knowingly destroy any political advertising which is placed or affixed to public or private property. Violation of this law can result in a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per incident.”
The removal of political signage is not the only law that the Australian Labor Party may have violated during their stint with the Bernie Sanders campaign. In fact, the volunteers presence in the campaign may have been entirely illegal, due to the fact that the Labor Party footed the bill for the volunteers while on site with the campaign. It was revealed in the undercover video that the round-trip airfare was covered by the Labor Party, along with housing and transportation expenses while in the States. Additionally, volunteers were paid a $60 a day stipend for food.
U.S. election laws, according to Project Veritas, allow for just $1,000 in expenses related to the campaign by a foreign party. It was noted that round-trip airfare to and from the United State would exceed the $1,000 limit, and that with each volunteer remaining in the U.S. for five weeks, the $60-per-day food stipend would exceed $2,000 alone. Therefore, with airfare, food, and housing, the Australian Labor Party volunteers well exceeded the $1,000 limit established in American law.
Though the volunteers seem to be in clear violation of U.S. election laws, the Bernie Sanders campaign seemed ignorant to the fact that a violation was taking place. In fact, it was noted that when the Australian volunteers arrived, the Sanders campaign had little knowledge of what they were doing or how long they were staying. Each volunteer pointed out numerous times their travel was compensated by the Labor Party, not the Sanders campaign.
In fact, the volunteers admitted that the Sanders staff members that picked them up from the airport seemed completely unaware that the group was arriving until they phoned to let them know they had arrived.
“There wasn’t much coordination. We got picked up from the airport in Manchester by Thorpe, the director of operations, and he was like, ‘So, what are you guys doing here?’ And we were like, ‘We thought you knew what we were doing here.’ “
When one of Sanders campaign coordinators were confronted about the possible violation of election laws, she noted that the Sanders campaign had no idea the Australians were coming or that they were being paid. When asked if the Sanders campaign would report the violation, she had no comment.
What do you think about the Australian Labor party footing the bill for volunteers to work on the Bernie Sanders campaign?
[Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo]