GOP senator won't say if she'd accept foreign election assistance for her campaign


Asking for foreign assistance in a campaign is illegal. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) refused to say she wouldn't do it.

Martha McSally, Arizona's unelected Republican senator, refused on Friday to rule out asking foreign countries for help in her 2020 election campaign.

A local reporter asked McSally if she "would be willing to ask a foreign country to dig up political dirt on" an opponent.

McSally did not answer and instead said, "The House is doing what they are doing. In the meantime, the Senate is doing our work in order to do what matters for Arizonans," referring to the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. The House impeachment inquiry is focused on allegations Trump asked Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, his potential rival in the 2020 presidential race

The reporter can be heard saying to McSally, "That's not the question," just before McSally walked away.

McSally's likely Democratic opponent for her Senate seat in 2020, former astronaut Mark Kelly, issued a statement answering the question.

"Of course, my campaign won't ask for or accept any assistance from a foreign government," Kelly said. "That's an easy decision because it's against the law, and it's against the oath Senator McSally and I both took to defend our constitution and our democracy."

According to a June statement from Ellen Weintraub, chair of the Federal Elections Commission, it is "illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election." She added, "Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation."

Weintraub issued the statement after Trump stated publicly during a television interview in early June that he may accept election assistance from a foreign country. Months later, he publicly asked both Ukraine and China to investigate Biden, a request some see as a request for election interference.

National security experts called Trump's actions an "unconscionable abuse of power." But McSally was not willing to say the same when she was asked.

During an Oct. 9 interview with a local outlet, McSally was asked if it "was appropriate for the president to solicit help from a foreign leader to research a potential political foe."

McSally refused to condemn such an action, opting instead to attack the House of Representatives for opening its impeachment inquiry.

Now, weeks later, she refused to rule out asking foreign countries to investigate her own political opponent.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.