-By Eliza Newlin Carney
July 5, 2011- The Federal Election Commission has fined a Luxembourg subsidiary of Kansas-based Koch Industries Inc. $4,700 for making illegal foreign campaign contributions.
A limited liability company organized in Luxembourg, INVISTA, made a dozen illegal contributions totaling $26,800 to nonfederal candidates and committees from 2005 to 2009, according to recently released FEC documents.
The largest was a $15,000 donation to the Democratic Governors Association, FEC records show. The rest went to state candidates in Virginia and Delaware and to Phill Kline, a prominent abortion opponent who served as Kansas attorney general from 2003 to 2007.
The Democratic Governors Association contribution stands out because Charles and David Koch, the principal owners of Koch Industries Inc., are better known for helping to underwrite conservative causes, including the tea party movement.
Foreign nationals, including overseas subsidiaries of U.S. companies, are barred from making campaign donations to any political campaigns or committees, whether federal, state or local. INVISTA acknowledged its error upfront, according to the FEC, and paid a relatively small fine in an expedited process. INVISTA’s actual headquarters are in Kansas, but it was organized under the laws of Luxembourg and operated an administrative office there, the FEC found.
Brett Kappel, a Democratic election lawyer with Arent Fox LLP, said the ban on foreign campaign contributions is “the broadest provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act.”
The FEC doled out a handful of similar fines last year.