WASHINGTON—In the aftermath of James O’Keefe’s videos showing Democratic operatives bragging about breaking the law and inciting violence at Donald Trump events, on Tuesday, a watchdog group filed a formal complaint against Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), alleging that Clinton’s campaign violated federal election law.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is an Indiana-based law firm that litigates ballot-box integrity lawsuits. PILF filed its complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), arguing that agents from the Democracy Partners and the Foval Group—the persons caught on O’Keefe’s explosive videos—“have engaged in public communications, campaign activity, targeted voter registration drives, and other targeted [get out the vote] activity … at the request, direction, and approval of” Hillary for America (the official name of the Clinton campaign) and the DNC.
Federal law at 52 U.S.C. § 30109(a)(2) provides that once the FEC receives a complaint, “If the Commission … has reason to believe that a person has committed, or is about to commit, a violation of [the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971—as amended by later statutes,]” the FEC “shall make an investigation of such alleged violation.”
The word “shall” is important because it is mandatory, rather than leaving the FEC the option of taking action. Consequently, when the FEC receives a complaint that is plausible on its face and has any sort of supporting evidence or corroboration—such as, for example, a video of a political operative who says he is taking orders directly from specific persons from the Clinton campaign and the national Democratic Party—federal law requires the FEC to open an investigation.
These videos fit a larger pattern of evidence of voter fraud and illegal election activity. In Virginia, a survey of only eight counties revealed hundreds of foreigners—potentially including illegal aliens—already registered to vote, which is a major focus on PILF’s litigation nationwide.
“American voter rolls are corrupted with unacceptable numbers of aliens who are illegally registered to vote,” PILF President J. Christian Adams said in a statement. “Groups should not be coordinating with campaigns and political parties to exploit vulnerabilities in our election system.”
“We hope this matter is fully investigated by the FEC and that if aliens are voting, they are prosecuted by the Justice Department,” he added. “That would mark a change in DOJ policies of the past seven years.”
Unfortunately for Trump supporters, the FEC is not required to finish an investigation and take legal enforcement action by November 8. But this legal complaint—like a second complaint later filed by O’Keefe himself—fuels media attention on the disturbingly brazen statements caught on the videos. These statements in turn advance Donald Trump’s narrative about the lawlessness and corruption of Hillary Clinton and her activities, going beyond her campaign organization to include the Clinton Foundation and pay-for-play politics.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.