New reporting has spotlighted a (comparatively small) amount of illegal foreign financial support for the Trump campaign from a perhaps surprising place: Canada. In May, Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak donated $300 to the Republican National Committee, despite the fact that financial support from foreigners for U.S. political campaigns is flatly prohibited by United States law. Alongside her donation, Beyak said that she was retired and claimed that her mailing address was a post office box on Davis Point Road in Dryden, New York — but that address does not correspond to an actual location. Beyak’s office claims that the Senator made the donation “in error” and the money “is now being returned in its entirety.”
The Senator’s office claimed to Vice News:
‘In response to your enquiry, a donation was made in error and is being returned in its entirety, simply because it was erroneous.’
As Vice notes, Beyak’s office failed to indicate “what error was made, why she misstated her address, or when the “error” was reported to the Republicans.”
How exactly did Beyak — who is a supporter of far-right causes in Canada — mistakenly send the illegal donation to the U.S. Republican Party? She clearly fabricated her address when submitting the money. There is, in fact, a Dryden, New York — but Beyak seems to live in Dryden, Ontario, and Vice News reports that a “phonebook listing that matches the street address from the GOP donation receipt corresponds to” Beyak. Did the Senator stumble on a request for Trump campaign donations and fail to realize that she was barred from legally donating, since she’s not an American citizen? Assuming a mere mistake seems inappropriate, because Beyak seems to have faked her address.
Members of the Canadian Senate are the appointees of prime ministers, and they are legally bound to retire at the age of 75. Beyak was appointed in 2013 by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Beyak has been an independent in the Canadian Senate since 2017 — she was formally removed from the Senate’s Conservative caucus after she proposed “a program to offer cash to Indigenous peoples to give up their protected status and land,” Vice News reports. Beyak has been temporarily suspended from the Senate twice: the first time, she was ordered to complete anti-racism training, and the second time, she was suspended for failing to complete the training. Although she’s an independent in the Canadian Senate, in 2019, Beyak donated $1,000 to Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party, which is a far-right group.
There has been no apparent comment from the U.S. Republican Party about the illegal donation that they accepted from Beyak, although the party is required to report any donations that are returned to donors. The GOP has struggled to keep up with the pace of Democratic fundraising throughout the 2020 election cycle. Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate have raised huge sums of money, and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has also raised a ton. Bloomberg reported recently that Biden’s campaign “raised $130 million in the first two weeks of October alone and entered the last stretch of the presidential race with $118 million more in the bank than” Donald Trump — a big advantage.