Democrats have reported one of the most controversial advisers to US President-elect Donald Trump to the FBI over having received illegal payments prior to the 2016 presidential election.
The Democratic Coalition Against Trump reported the notorious white supremacist, Stephen Bannon, to the FBI on Tuesday, saying he broke the campaigning finance law by receiving $950,090 from the pro-Trump super PAC Make America Number 1., reported Politicus USA on Wednesday.
Bannon’s appointment to chief strategist and senior counselor to the president has outraged high-profile Democrats as well as human rights activists.
He formerly served as the New York billionaire’s campaign chairman and head of the extremist right-wing Breitbart News website, which ties to white nationalism.
The group said in a statement that the money was paid to Bannon’s company, Glittering Steel LLC.
“The super PAC is mainly backed by Robert and Rebekah Mercer, and Rebekah was recently named to Trump’s transition team. The most recent payment made to Glittering Steel LLC was on November 5, 2016, and a full list of the expenditures made by the PAC to Bannon’s company can be found here,” read the statement.
“Before Bannon became Trump campaign CEO in August of this year, Glittering Steel LLC was reported to the FEC [the Federal Election Commission] at Breitbart’s address in Beverly Hills, CA. Right after Bannon became CEO, however, Glittering Steel LLC was exclusively reported to the FEC at an address in Arlington, VA.”
The group argued that “it is against campaign finance law for super PACs to directly coordinate with the campaigns they support, so Bannon’s role as both an employee of the super PAC and campaign CEO would have broken the law.”
Bannon violated a 120-day “cooling off” period for employees that leave a super PAC in order to join a campaign to help avoid coordination.
“He became Trump’s campaign CEO just 9 days after being paid by Make America Number 1.”
After investigations into campaign finance crimes by the FBI’s public corruption unit, a campaign worker was sentenced to two years behind bars in 2015, added the statement.
Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders called on the future president to rescind his controversial appointment.
“The appointment by President-elect Trump of a racist individual like Mr. Bannon to a position of authority is totally unacceptable,” said the Vermont senator in a statement, further claiming that “This country, since its inception, has struggled to overcome discrimination of all forms: racism, sexism, xenophobia and homophobia.”
“We are not going backward… In a democratic society we can disagree all we want over issues, but racism and bigotry cannot be part of any public policy,” Sanders warned. “The appointment of Mr. Bannon by Mr. Trump must be rescinded.”