A watchdog group filed a complaint with Federal Elections Commission (FEC) Friday, demanding investigation into a Swiss billionaire’s involvement into the U.S. electoral process.
Americans for Public Trust’s complaint claims that Swiss-born Hansjörg Wyss, 85, who currently leads a reclusive lifestyle in Wyoming, “indirectly funded federal electoral advocacy through his nonprofit organizations, the Wyss Foundation and the Berger Action Fund,” The New York Post reported.
“Mr. Wyss indirectly funded federal electoral advocacy through his nonprofit organizations… The intended recipient of these funds was ultimately a variety of organizations whose primary purpose is to engage in electoral advocacy.”https://t.co/a81M4xfdLf
— Americans for Public Trust (@apublictrust) May 17, 2021
“The law prohibits foreign nationals from making contributions to political committees whether directly or indirectly,” the complaint reads.
Since 2016, Wyss’s non-profit fund and foundation donated $208 million to three non-profit funds that backed progressive causes, helping Democrats win the White House and control of Congress in 2020, according to The New York Times (NYT). (RELATED: Swiss Billionaire Previously Accused Of Sexual Assault Donated To Firm With Ties To Lincoln Project)
Although the billionaire’s representatives claim that the donations to the non-profit funds were never meant for political campaigning, Wyss’s organizations have directly sponsored groups that opposed former President Donald Trump, spending tens of millions of dollars for the cause, the NYT reported.
“You don’t see his name show up in FEC filings but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he hasn’t poured hundreds of millions of dollars into influencing US politics or policy,” Anna Massoglia, an investigative researcher with the Center for Responsive Politics, said of Wyss, according to The New York Post.
The Friday complaint also alleges that the “Hub Project,” another Wyss-funded group, managed $30 million in campaign spending to help Democratic congressional candidates in the 2018 election cycle “through its affiliated trade groups and through its super PAC, Change Now.” However, the “Hub Project” was not registered as a political committee to avoid FEC’s oversight, the complaint says.
“Once it became clear that there was a lot of interconnectivity, we felt it was important to ask for an investigation to see if in fact Wyss was essentially funneling money as a non-American citizen into the American election system,” Adam Paul Laxalt, outside counsel for Americans for Public Trust, told the New York Post.