All this time, we’ve all assumed that Kevin McCarthy has been cartoonishly loyal to Donald Trump because he’s an opportunistic lunkhead who saw an opportunity to become House Minority Leader simply by kissing up to Trump. But today things changed when Rudy Giuliani’s associates were arrested for campaign finance violations that dragged McCarthy into the mix. Now McCarthy is panicking.
The SDNY indictment of Rudy’s associates alleges that they gave hundreds of thousands of dollars of foreign money to former House Republican Pete Sessions, who is identified as “Congressman 1” in the indictment. It turns out Rudy’s associates also gave a few thousand dollars in foreign money directly to Kevin McCarthy, and also gave tens of thousands of dollars indirectly to McCarthy.
Donating foreign money to a politician is a crime on the part of the person making the donation, but it’s only a crime on the part of the politician if it can be proven that the politician knew the money was foreign. So if Sessions and McCarthy genuinely thought the donations were from Americans, then they’re not facing legal jeopardy. That said, McCarthy is moving fast to try to disavow himself of it all.
Kevin McCarthy is vowing to donate the illegal contributions to charity, according to a new report from Vice tonight. This is actually the right way to handle it. The trouble: McCarthy isn’t willing to say whether or not he’s met these two guys. Why can’t he answer such a simple question?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report