WHEATLAND, Pa. (WKBN) – Wheatland Tube owner Barry Zekelman is facing a fine from the Federal Election Commission for contributions he made in 2018 to a super PAC that supported the Trump campaign.
The FEC fined Zekelman $975,000 for donations totaling $1.7 million to America First Action (AFA), alleging he directed the contributions through Wheatland Tube President Mickey McNamara.
A $1 million donation was made in April 2018, $250,000 in June 2018 and $500,000 in October 2018.
Zekelman, of Zekelman Industries, the parent company of Wheatland Tube, is a Canadian citizen and therefore a foreign national. A foreign national is prohibited from directly or indirectly making a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value in connection with a federal state or local election.
The FEC determined, following a complaint filed by the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center, that Zekelman violated campaign finance law by directing the contributions, even though they were paid through McNamara.
The FEC determined that Zekelman’s actions were not “knowing or willful” but found that Zekelman had control of the donations.
“…the key issue is not whether a U.S. citizen or national had final decision-making authority or final say regarding the making of the contribution or donation, but whether any foreign national directed, dictated, controlled, or directly or indirectly participated in a decision-making process in connection with election-related spending,” the ruling said.
The commission wrote that McNamara consulted with Zekelman about the contributions and admitted doing so.
“Regardless of whether the final decision on whether to contribute was McNamara’s, Zekelman’s acknowledged role in contacting McNamara with the contribution proposal and discussing it with him supports the inference that Zekelman participated in the decision-making process regarding the contributions,” the ruling stated.