Here is the criminal complaint filed against Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova with respect to “Project Lakhta,” for conspiring to violate U.S. law banning foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or providing things of value for the purpose of influencing federal elections. Here’s a part of the story I don’t believe anyone else has yet commented on.
The complaint at paragraph 7 on page 4 states that:
Among other things, [the Federal Election Campaign Act (“FECA”)] prohibits foreign nationals from making “a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election.” 52 U.S.C. § 30121(a)(1)(A).
At the core of the complaint is the concept that a web-based campaign is a “thing of value” under 52 U.S.C. § 30121.
52 U.S.C. §30121(a)(2) also makes it illegal for:
[A] person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) [of §30121] from a foreign national.
So, if, say, the campaign manager for a presidential campaign and an advisor (or advisors) to that campaign conspired to solicit such contribution or donation described in 52 U.S.C. §30121 from a foreign national, that campaign manager and that advisor (or those advisors) would be guilty of a federal crime.