James Bond feels the Bern
James Bond is a socialist sympathizer? Who knew?
Current James Bond leading man Daniel Craig gave almost $50,000 to a shady pro-Bernie Sanders SuperPAC. The English actor is a U.S. resident, so his political donations to American candidates and PACs are perfectly legal.
According to a report from the Center for Public Integrity, Craig confirmed he, “donated nearly $50,000 this summer to Americans Socially United, an organization purporting to support Sanders’ upstart presidential campaign.”
What Craig apparently didn’t know: The super PAC’s founder, Cary Lee Peterson, has routinely run afoul of creditors and the law — including stiffing one of the nation’s largest news companies out of a six-figure sum.
Sanders himself has disavowed super PACs, which have no contribution limits, and his campaign has demanded that Peterson curtail his operation. But there is little the U.S. senator from Vermont can actually do to stop passionate supporters — or opportunists — from launching such groups.
Super PACs are largely unregulated by the Federal Election Commission. Pretty much anyone can form one, including political professionals, college kids and even convicted criminals. And the prominence of social media means these unofficial groups may easily tap online support for a popular candidate like Sanders.
Campaign finance watchdogs say this creates a buyer-beware situation for donors, especially if the super PAC’s name is similar to that of the candidate.
Peterson, a self-described “lobbyist” and “diplomat” prone to making extravagant claims about his business operations, initially took this approach, naming Americans Socially United both “Ready for Bernie Sanders 2016” and “Bet on Bernie 2016” before the FEC made him change it. The super PAC has also failed to file campaign finance disclosures, in violation of federal law.
…Several Sanders supporters confirmed they donated to Americans Socially United thinking the money was going to Sanders’ campaign.
Peterson says that he started Americans Socially United because he’s a fan of Sanders — nothing more.
“I just believe in the cause,” Peterson said in a recent phone interview. “If I don’t do it, who [will]?”
Peterson said it was an “honor” to receive $47,300 in July from Craig, adding: “James Bond for Bernie is pretty cool, you know what I mean?”
Since there’s currently no evidence that his generous donation was misused, Craig stands by offering.
…according to Laura Symons, his publicist — said in a statement to the Center for Public Integrity that he made the donation to Americans Socially United “in good faith” to support Sanders’ candidacy.
Told of Peterson’s legal history, Craig replied: “Currently, I have been informed of no evidence to question that my donation has not been used as intended. Should that situation occur, then clearly, I will review my position.”
Bernie’s Camp though? Less than impressed.
Sanders’ campaign, however, certainly has a problem with Peterson.
“While Bernie 2016 is grateful for your enthusiasm, we are compelled to inform you that your current efforts are illegal and are causing harmful confusion for supporters of Senator Sanders’ campaign,” wrote Brad Deutsch, Sanders’ legal counsel, in a June 12 cease and desist letter to Peterson, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.
Peterson has largely ignored the letter’s demands, which include taking down his websites and social media pages.
Sanders campaign officials declined to comment.
[Featured Image a Screen Grab from this YouTube video]
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