One little donation. So many questions.

Nice to see that the Premier and Finance Minister are over in DC for a grip and grin with the movers and shakers and tout our 'pristine financial reputation' (uh, I think the BHC report is doing some damage to that).

I love the bit about how this would be done on the cheap, I guess the travel cost flap stung a little.

"This trip is included in our travel budget for the year. We are trying to keep the cost as tight as we can, as reasonable as we can. We are not even staying overnight on Friday."

One Congressman I didn't see on the list is Al Green of Texas, whose campaign committee received a $500 donation on March 26th 2004 from our Deputy Premier, declaring his address as Apt 6503, 150 W 56th St., New York, NY 10069.

A googling reader sent that in to me some time ago and then recently reminded me of it with another email link showing some donations from the early 90s, including a Republican (gasp), Bob Dole.

Now we all know that Dr. Brown has been quite active in US politics, and those connections have been touted as an asset for Bermuda.

What is interesting about the 2004 donation, is that only US citizens or green card holders can make political donations, not foreign nationals - not even the foreign spouses of US citzens/green card holders. US law is explicit on this.

So, that little $500 donation raises an interesting set of questions:

:: Did Dr. Brown in fact renounce his citizenship in the late 90s so that he could serve in the Bermuda Parliament or didn't he?

:: If he did renounce - as I thought had been the case - then it would seem that he has violated US election laws:

The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.

Taking this a little further, if Dr. Brown didn't renounce his US Citizenship that would mean that as a naturalized US Citizen he should be disqualified from serving in Parliament as he'd have sworn allegiance to a foreign power.

It's amazing what you can find on the internet. One little donation. So many questions.

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