The campaign of Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe accepted $350,000 from Lyca Tel LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of a UK holding company, owned, and controlled by Sri Lankan-born British national Allirajah Subaskaran, reports The Washington Free Beacon.
The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) over the report.
Federal election laws indicate that candidates may not accept contributions from foreign nationals.
LycaTel, a discount calling card provider, boasts a complicated web of offshore businesses and has been the subject of tax-fraud and money-laundering allegations overseas. The contribution is one of the largest received by McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign this election cycle.
Ethics and policy experts say the foreign nature of the contribution raises red flags.
“Three-hundred-fifty-thousand dollars to Terry McAuliffe, that’s a huge sum of money, even by campaign finance standards,” said Ben Freeman, director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy.
“If I was a part of that campaign, or if I was any way connected to that, I’m not going to accept that money because I don’t want even the semblance that we have foreign influence on my campaign. If I was them, I’d give the money back.”
Tom Anderson, director of the Government Integrity Project at the National Legal and Policy Center, said McAuliffe “probably has one of the most prolific dark money machines in politics but brazenly soliciting and accepting $350,000 from a foreign source is crossing a very bright red line in our opinion.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.