WASHINGTON, D.C. – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and other members of the Islamic State’s leadership council have provided more than five million dollars in campaign contributions to Republican presidential candidates this year, according to a campaign finance report released by the Republican National Committee last week.
According to the report, more than half of the GOP’s leading presidential contenders including Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, have received upwards of one million dollars from the Islamic State. However, specific standards set in place by the Federal Election Committee limit individual donors to a maximum contribution of $2,700 per year. In addition, the FEC strictly prohibits foreign nationals from making any sort of contribution toward elections held in the United States.
To the delight of the RNC, the Islamic State has found a convenient loophole to bypass these restrictions. Using the same global financial networks already in place meant to provide funding to its various terror operations, ISIS is able to funnel cash through a number of waypoints before it reaches sympathetic Americans residing in the United States. Then, using funds provided by the Islamic State, individuals simply write a check for the maximum donation allowed, payable to a presidential candidate’s campaign.
“It’s really an ingenious system,” said James Arevalo, assistant campaign manager for Senator Ted Cruz. “Obviously the senator doesn’t see eye to eye with the Islamic State on some issues,” Arevalo told CNN, continuing, “That said, we certainly share very similar beliefs and values with ISIS, particularly when it comes to women’s rights and gun control.” Arevalo added that candidates have a “moral obligation” to meet the uphold the values of supporters and donors alike.
In the wake of the nation’s most recent mass shooting that left fourteen people dead and another twenty-two injured in San Bernardino, California, the Republican party, at the request of the Islamic State and the National Rifle Association, once again blocked legislation that would enact stricter gun control policies in the United States.
Currently there are an estimated 700,000 people on the U.S. government’s terror watch list with several thousand residing in the United States. Legislation proposed by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein would have prevented terror suspects, felons, and individuals with a history of mental illness from purchasing firearms.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who opposed the legislation, told CBS This Morning that the act of blocking suspected terrorists and convicted felons from legally obtaining firearms would infringe “upon the rights of law-abiding citizens.”