The Federal Election Commission today announced a $7,150 fine against a shady super PAC that seemingly scammed nearly $50,000 from “James Bond” actor Daniel Craig as well as additional funds from scores of lesser-known donors.
The super PAC, known as Americans Socially United, was launched in 2015 to support Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had denounced super PACs — and Americans Socially United in particular — during his primary bid against Hillary Clinton.
It was operated by alleged fraudster Cary Lee Peterson, a self-described "congressional lobbyist and election campaign guru" who the FBI arrested earlier this year in connection with a securities fraud case.
Peterson's super PAC failed to file a mandatory campaign finance report earlier this year that would have detailed its financial activity between July and December of last year.
That’s the period during which Craig — a British actor who is also a U.S. resident legally able to make political donations — gave $47,300 to Americans Socially United. (Around the same time, Craig also donated the legal maximum of $2,700 to Sanders’ official campaign committee.)
“It’s nice to see that the FEC is keeping an eye on these things,” Brad Deutsch, who served as Sanders’ campaign lawyer, told the Center for Public Integrity. “I would hope the FEC doesn’t stop at this."
Last year, Deutsch authored two letters to Peterson, accusing him and his super PAC — which operated a number of purportedly pro-Sanders websites, including BetonBernie.com, BetonBernie2016.com, PledgeSanders2016.com and SociallyUnited.org — of being “illegal” and “causing harmful confusion for supporters of Senator Sanders’ campaign.”