The US politicians accepting Viet Tan donations

Viet Tan has been attempting to buy political influence in the US for years. The US government sends a dangerous message by accepting.

By Oliver Ward

Viet Tan representatives have been making donations to US political campaigns since 1995. Senior members of the Viet Tan in the US have contributed to campaign funds. They even made donations to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Viet Tan has no registered IRS number and does not pay taxes in the US. It is not an officially registered organisation. But Viet Tan is actively buying favour from US politicians.

Viet Tan garners political favour through campaign fund donations

Viet Tan has donated more than US$26,000 to US political campaigns between 1995 and 2016. This is the traceable number from three well-known Viet Tan members. The donations syphoned through lesser-known Viet Tan members is unknown. The group used individual accounts to make the donations.

Source: FEC

Do Diem, Dan Hoang, and Dung Trung Tran made many of the donations in their names. They are all senior Viet Tan members.

Source: Viet Tan

Viet Tan made other donations under the names of affiliated corporations. Under US law, a non-profit corporation cannot contribute to a political campaign. Viet Tan used a corporation named Aureflam, among others, to make its donations. The corporation is registered in Sacramento, California. On Google Earth, the registered property has no sign outside. The phone number provided is also not in use.

This is consistent with reports of how Viet Tan raises its funds

Nguyen Thanh Tu infiltrated the group. His late father, journalist Dam Phong, received death threats from the group in the 1980s. Masked gunmen assassinated Dam Phong outside his home in 1982.

Nguyen Thanh Tu revealed the group’s fundraising process. He revealed the group staged protests in Vietnam. “They would stage an incident in Vietnam to justify the fundraising,” said Tu. Viet Tan would then raise money in the US under the pretence of assisting the protest movement.

The group funnelled the money it raised through a network of businesses. Viet Tan laundered the money to avoid paying tax on its revenue. Nguyen Thanh Tu believes that it has raised more than US$100 million since the 1980s in this manner.

Nguyen Thanh Tu also revealed the efforts the group made to silence and discredit him. These efforts went as far as to include threats to his personal safety. He has received messages telling him to “watch” his back and threats of “blowing up his skull”.

Accepting the money undermines the Vietnamese government

In receiving money from this organisation, American politicians are undermining Vietnamese sovereignty. In March 2017, Viet Tan Chairman Do Hoang Diem made a confession in March 2017. He admitted that the members of the National United Front for the Liberation of Vietnam (NUFLV) founded Viet Tan on September 10th, 1982. He also admitted that the two organisations had many overlapping members.  In fact, Viet Tan members made up the leadership of NUFLV.

This is significant because of the history of the NUFLV. The NUFLV launched three military campaigns in Vietnam between 1982 and 1987. The campaigns had the objective of toppling the Vietnamese government. The same organisation launched Viet Tan with the same objective.

Viet Tan was founded with the intention to topple the Vietnamese government. In accepting financial donations from it, the US government sends a worrying message. In doing so, the US government is undermining its Vietnamese counterparts.

Viet Tan recently switched tactics. It now claims to support peaceful human rights defenders in Vietnam. By positioning itself as a human rights group, it hopes to keep donations pouring in.

However, the group’s violent threats aimed at silencing critics should be concerning. Avoiding affiliation with such a group should be a priority. Viet Tan manipulates the US political system through financial contributions to election campaigns. It is not only illegal but immoral given the aggressive nature of the group.