The John McCain Russian saga keeps getting more bizarre. Sen. John McCain as a presidential candidate in 2008 directly and illegally propositioned Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, to donate to the McCain/Sarah Palin GOP ticket, according to documents released by Wikileaks.
This week, WikiLeaks released a 2008 document showing then-presidential candidate McCain asking Russia to give illegal donations to his campaign. Russia responded with the following statement:
“We have received a letter from Senator John McCain requesting financial contribution to his Presidential campaign. In this connection we would like to reiterate that Russian officials, the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations or the Russian Government do not finance political activity in foreign countries.”
Russian officials clearly understood that McCain’s request was not legal per U.S. law which forbids foreign governments from contributing money or assistance to presidential campaigns and U.S. presidential candidates from seeking foreign donations. Apparently McCain didn’t know this or simply ignored it before sending his Sept. 29th letter addressed directly and personally to Churkin at the Russian embassy on 67th Street in Manhattan.
McCain offered the Russians a chance to use any major credit card to donate $5,000 or even more. To be fair, McCain’s letter reads much like a normal campaign fundraising letter seeking contributions and likely would have gone unnoticed except that Churkin was compelled to release an official statement from the Russian government rebuking the request, which in part read:
Contributions to McCain-Palin Victory 2008 (“Victory 2008”) are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Victory 2008 allocates contributions to the Republican National Committee (“RNC”), the state parties’ federal accounts, and the McCain-Palin Compliance Fund (“Compliance Fund”) in conformity with federal limits. Unless a contribution would exceed federal limits or a contributor designates otherwise, Victory 2008 will divide contributions as follows:
For Individuals – The first $28,500 will go to the RNC, the next portion will be divided evenly between the Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania state parties’ federal accounts up to a maximum of $9,250 for each Committee, and the final $2,300 will go to the Compliance Fund.
The Russian response to McCain’s campaign which was leaked to and verified by Wikileaks is below and at Wikileaks.