The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has administered a record-breaking fine to Right to Rise USA, the super PAC that supported Jeb Bush’s failed presidential campaign.
According to the FEC, Right to Rise accepted a campaign donation of $1.3 million from American Pacific International Capital (APIC), a corporation incorporated in California but controlled by Chinese nationals, which makes the donation illegal under campaign finance law. The super PAC will have to pay a $390,000 penalty for the infraction, while APIC was fined $550,000.
HUGE: @FEC has levied its biggest fine since Citizens United & 3rd largest in history after investigation found pro-Jeb! Bush super PAC Right to Rise illegally took $1.3 million donation from Chinese-owned corporation—breaking federal law barring foreign interference in elections pic.twitter.com/qujTg9ZI0n
— Anna Massoglia (@annalecta) March 11, 2019
While the media has extensively covered this information, little coverage has been devoted to the individuals in charge of the super PAC at the time that it accepted the cash from the China-backed outfit. Most of the focus has been centered around Neil Bush’s seat on the board of APIC and on Charlie Spies, then treasurer of the super PAC and now its general counsel. No media outlets have discussed who was in charge of the massive outfit and his possible role in the scandal.
Mike Murphy is a high-profile NeverTrumper and a valued member of the Republican consultant class who was best known for working on the failed John McCain presidential campaign. He is also a controversial figure for his role in wasting $100 million to try to get Jeb Bush elected. He was in charge of Right to Rise at the time the super PAC committed the massive FEC violation. It remains unclear what Murphy knew of the illegal donation at the time.
Establishment GOP consultant and prominent NeverTrumper Mike Murphy led Right to Rise, the PAC that illegally took $1.3 million from state-owned Chinese gov't corporation. This is Murphy's profile photo. #Projection https://t.co/Y8TmgcX7Sh pic.twitter.com/dCTAsQ9GaA
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) March 11, 2019
Moreover, the GOP consultant, who is also a NBC contributor, frequently appears on television to advance the Trump-Russia conspiracy.
It is all too ironic that Murphy, who forwards the idea that the president is tied to a foreign government, oversaw an organization that was subject to a potential Chinese influence operation.
The Chinese government runs what scholars and intelligence officials consider the most sophisticated influence campaigns worldwide. Beijing designates large sums to influencing elections throughout the world and has attempted to interfere in U.S. politics, too. The Trump administration recently accused Beijing of attempting to interfere in the 2018 election.
Trump-Russia never came to fruition, but China’s continuing influence and interference efforts, through both influential Republican and Democratic circles, continue apace.