Under the Constitution, Abdul Hassan isn’t qualified to be president, but that hasn’t stopped the New York lawyer from launching a long-shot campaign for the White House — and applying for taxpayer-underwritten presidential campaign matching funds.
Members of the Federal Election Commission agreed unanimously Thursday that Hassan would be ineligible to receive the money but postponed making their decision official with a vote.
Hassan, a naturalized citizen, was born in Guyana. That means he’s barred from serving as the nation’s top elected leader. The Constitution says that “[n]o Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
That also means Hassan can’t receive public matching funds for his campaign, FEC Chair Cynthia Bauerly concluded. “Clear and self-avowed constitutional ineligibility for office is one of the few instances where the Commission’s exercise of its discretion to withhold funds is appropriate,” she wrote in an advisory opinion before the meeting.
Commissioners Don McGhan and Steven Walther reasoned that providing Hassan with matching funds would legitimize an impermissible presidential campaign. They worried that Hassan could point to a favorable FEC ruling to fundraise for a non-viable presidential campaign.
Furthermore, McGhan noted that influential early voting states, namely Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, require presidential candidates to satisfy all constitutional requirements for ballot eligibility. Hassan would be unable to meet this pre-condition.
The commissioners postponed a final vote, however, because Hassan has filed suit to overturn the constitutional ban on foreign-born citizens serving as president.
He contends the 14th Amendment, which prohibits any law abridging the privileges or immunities of U.S. citizens, trumps Article II, Section 1, the ban on non-U.S.-born citizens occupying the presidency.
A New York federal court dismissed his case, but he has appealed. On this constitutional question, the Supreme Court could be the ultimate arbiter.
Even if his White House prospects are foreclosed, Hassan has other avenues for his political ambitions. Non-U.S.-born citizens have served in many other high offices. Among them, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a native of Austria, and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who was born in Canada.
What We're Following See More »
Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. it should be included. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.