Jeb Bush's super PAC just got fined nearly $400,000 for an illegal campaign donation solicited by his brother, Neil.
Although it has been more than three years since he dropped out of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, Jeb Bush's super PAC, Right to Rise, just got slapped with a $390,000 fine from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Turns out they took a significant amount of money from a Chinese-owned corporation, which is forbidden under American election law.
While Jeb was terrible at running for president, he was absolutely spectacular at raising money to run for president. In the first six months of his campaign, Jeb Bush and Right to Rise raised $114 million, much more than anyone else in the GOP field.
However, $1.3 million of that money came from a Chinese corporation, American Pacific International Capital (APIC). Neil Bush, Jeb's younger brother, sits on the board of APIC and he solicited the contribution. Neil knew, though, that the board members he was hitting up were foreign nationals.
Neil isn't in the news much these days, but back when his dad was president, he did a spectacular job of running a Denver savings and loan association into the ground. The FDIC sued Neil and the other directors of Silverado Banking, Savings, and Loan, alleging Neil violated conflict-of-interest regulations and didn't do anything to stop Silverado from making improper and illegal loans. Somehow, even though the collapse of Silverado cost taxpayers $1 billion, Neil got away with paying just a $50,000 fine and lived to grift another day.
The fines here are more substantial, though they still won't touch Neil — or Jeb, for that matter — directly. Right to Rise pays the $390,000 for accepting the donation, and APIC has to pay $550,000 for making the donation. Taken together, it is the third-largest fine ever imposed by the FEC.
The entire escapade is a reminder that the Bush children seem to perpetually escape any real consequences for their misdeeds. Even with the mammoth fine, Right to Rise still gets to keep almost $1 million of the illegal donation, and Neil and Jeb aren't even out one dollar of their own money. Consequences for violations of campaign finance law are woefully inadequate.
Meanwhile, Florida Republican donor and massage parlor owner Li Yang is selling Chinese corporations access to Trump and his family, with some measure of success. If the only consequence for her — or Trump — down the line is a relatively paltry fine, what's to stop her or anyone else?
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.