FEC To Allow Foreign-Born Citizen to Run for President

By | August 28, 2011

The six commissioners of the Federal Election Commission are being tasked with a Constitutional question: Can a foreign-born citizen run for President of the United States?

The Constitution strictly forbids anyone but a “natural-born citizen” from becoming president, but it does not restrict candidacy. Now, the FEC won’t either.

Guyana-born New York attorney Abdul Hassan would like to file papers, take campaign contributions, and collect federal matching funds for his candidacy. Two draft advisory opinions from the FEC may let him do just that – even though he can never be sworn into that office.

Hassan had posed four questions to the commission.

1) As a naturalized American citizen, will Mr. Hassan be considered a “candidate ” or “person ” running for President under the Act?

2) As a naturalized American citizen, is Mr. Hassan eligible to receive presidential matching funds under the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account Act?

3) As a naturalized American citizen, will Mr. Hassan violate 2 U.S.C. 44Ih(b) if he solicits and receives contributions for his presidential campaign?

4) Is Mr. Hassan required to comply with the Act’s provisions regarding expenditures, contributions, record keeping, and reporting?

The opinions state that he can be a candidate, can collect campaign contributions and would be required to disclose his campaign finances to the commission. The difference between the two opinions is the question of whether or not he may receive federal matching funds for his campaign. Draft A forbids him from collecting the matching money and Draft B sidesteps the question as “hypothetical”.

Why Hassan is pressing this issue, with full knowledge that he will not win the election and even if he did, could not be president is not immediately clear. It could be the slippery-slope approach that liberals take when attempting to erode the power of the Constitution. Before long, the FEC may be questioning the definition of “natural-born” or “citizen”. It would only take a single challenge to his candidacy to open a legal case that would ultimately end up in the Supreme Court.

The Constitution does not define “natural-born citizen”. That term is defined in section 8 of the United States Code of  Laws. This challenge could open up the question of whether the U.S. code is an accurate or Constitutionally-acceptable definition. Semantics are the tool of the left and they may be at work to change the application of a fundamental clause in the U.S. Constitution.

This is not the first attempt to circumvent the natural-born citizen requirement to be president. More than 20 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed to change the requirement. Perhaps the most famous being one that was intended to allow Henry Kissinger to serve as President.

The FEC could vote on the opinions as early as Thursday and for either opinion to be accepted, four of the six commissioners must agree.

Public comments must be submitted by Noon on Wednesday August 31st, 2011. Those wishing to comment on the Draft A or Draft B of the Draft Advisory Opinion 2011-15 should follow these directions:

  1. Comments must be in writing, and they must be both legible and complete.
  2. Comments must be submitted to the Office of the Commission Secretary by hand delivery or fax (202) 208-3333, with a duplicate copy submitted to the Office of General Counsel by hand delivery or fax (202) 219-3923.
  3. Comments must be received by noon (Eastem Time) on August 31,2011.
  4. The Commission will generally not accept comments received after the deadline. Requests to extend the comment period are discouraged and unwelcome. An extension request will be considered only if received before the comment deadline and then only on a case-by-case basis in special circumstances.
  5. All timely received comments will be made available to the public at the Commission’s Public Records Office and will be posted on the Commission’s website at http://saos.mctusa.com/saos/searchao

If you would like to deliver your comments by hand, one copy each should be delivered to:
Office of the Commission Secretary
Federal Election Commission
999 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20463

-AND-

Office of General Counsel
ATTN: Rosemary C. Smith, Esq.
Federal Election Commission
999 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20463

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