Nov. 19, 2010


MY answer to the following editor’s note in my column of Nov. 12-18, 2010 is set forth below:

Editor’s note: Why is it that a Filipino citizen, Mark Jimenez, was extradited to the U.S., tried and convicted in Florida for contributing to the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton? Jimenez served jail time in Florida.

Is it wrong to contribute to a campaign fund but right for a non-citizen like Manny Pacquiao to endorse U.S. candidates for the Senate?

My answer: Former congressman of Manila’s 6th District Mark Jimenez was detained in Florida after being convicted by a U.S. court on charges of conspiracy to commit offenses against U.S. income taxes.

The ex-congressman was extradited to the U.S. on Dec. 26, 2002.

He was convicted of electoral fraud by the Southern District Court of Miami on Nov. 14, 2003.

Jimenez’s crime: Illegal contributions

U.S. prosecutors had said that Jimenez made illegal contributions of about $41,500 and caused false information to be submitted to the Federal Election Commission. U.S. law forbids foreigners from making contributions to election campaigns.

Jimenez used money from his Miami company and a closely related company to reimburse employees for illegal donations to former U.S. President Bill Clinton and other Democrats.

From 1994 to 1996, Jimenez gave contributions to Bill Clinton, U.S. Senators Edward Kennedy and Robert Torricelli, U.S. Senate candidates Roger Bedford of Alabama and Thomas Strickland of Colorado, and U.S. House candidate Ann Henry of Arkansas. (Inquirer News Service — Rotondo & Associate, PC files.)

Unlike Philippine election law embodied in the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, to the best of my knowledge, there is no federal or state law in the United States penalizing non-citizens for campaigning for candidates in the U.S.

Author’s comment

As confirmed in the Jimenez case, under current American law foreigners are forbidden from making contributions to election campaigns of U.S. candidates.

Ergo, it is appropriate for the U.S. Congress to initiate law reform bill to penalize and make it illegal for non-citizens to campaign for U.S. candidates since these aliens have no allegiance to the U.S. Constitutions and the laws of the U.S.

(Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Atty. Edgar Ariel Recto for furnishing the writer on the Jimenez case.)

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