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The Real Threat to American Sovereignty

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Robert B. Reich       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   8 comments

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Reprinted from Robert Reich Blog

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"Without a border, we just don't have a country," Donald Trump says repeatedly. For him, the biggest threats to American sovereignty are three-dimensional items that cross our borders, such as unwanted imports and undocumented immigrants.

He's wrong. The biggest threats to American sovereignty are invisible digital dollars wired into U.S. election campaigns from abroad.

Yet Trump seems to welcome foreign influence over our democracy.

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Sovereignty is mainly about a government's capacity to govern. A government not fully accountable to its citizens won't pass laws that benefit and protect those citizens -- not just laws about trade and immigration but about national security, the environment, labor standards, the economy, and all else.

To state it another way: Without a functioning democracy, we just don't have a country.

Trump's recent public request that hackers connected to the Russian government sabotage his opponent Hillary Clinton is the tip of a Trumpian iceberg of foreign influence.

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He's also been actively soliciting campaign funds from officials of foreign governments -- in the United Kingdom, Iceland, Australia, and elsewhere.

Terri Butler, a member of the Australian parliament was surprised to receive fundraising solicitations from Trump at her official government email address, asking her to make a "generous contribution" to the Trump campaign.

Bob Blackman, a member of Britain's House of Commons, who has also received fundraising requests from the Trump campaign, says "I did not sign up, these are sent unsolicited."

Another member of the U.K. parliament, Peter Bottomley, has received three such solicitations. "Neither [Trump's] sons nor anyone else has answered my questions about how they acquired my email nor why they were asking for financial support that I suppose to be illegal for [Trump] to accept," he says,

In Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir, chair of the Left-Green Movement, a democratic socialist party, has "no idea" how she got on Trump's fundraising list.

Someone should let Trump know it's illegal for candidates for federal office to solicit foreign money, regardless of whether the donations ever materialize. In addition, foreign individuals, corporations and governments are barred from either giving money directly to U.S. candidates or spending on advertising to influence U.S. elections.

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Why hasn't Trump been held accountable? Because the Federal Election Commission, charged with enforcing the law, is gridlocked by its Republican appointees.

So we're left with a presidential candidate screaming about threats to American sovereignty from trade and immigration, who's simultaneously urging officials of foreign governments to compromise American sovereignty.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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