Volunteers for the Australian Labor Party are under investigation over their behaviour on a trip to the US – including tampering with presidential campaign material – on a trip apparently funded by taxpayers.
In an video posted by Project Veritas Action on Thursday, which conducts investigations into abuse and corruption, Australian volunteers can be seen acting inappropriately in activities carried out during the presidential campaign for Democratic senator Bernie Sanders.
In the footage, Australian volunteer Ben Kremer attempts to tear down a Trump yard sign despite saying “it’s illegal to move or like tamper with or do anything with campaign signs”.
“We can go for the big sign. We have driven all the way out here, so we might as well take a big scalp.”
He can also be heard telling undercover PVA journalists in New Hampshire that “we were all going to get together and burn down Trump signs” and that “it felt really good” after destroying a Hillary sign.
The actions go against US law which states that “no person shall remove, deface or knowingly destroy any political advertising which is placed on or affixed to public property or any private property”.
“Bernie is about listening and saying ‘f— you’ to the establishment,” said Kremer.
Kremer says his trip was “technically funded by the taxpayer” including his flights and travel allowance noting that there were other Australian volunteers across US states such as Nevada, New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina working on Sanders’ campaign, all compensated for using Australia tax dollars.
Fairfax reports that members of the Australian Labor Party have begun investigations into “completely unacceptable” behaviour depicted in the video and whether the Australian Political Parties Democracy Program followed US election laws.
“We believe that our program is compliant but clearly the behaviour of these individuals in the video is, on the face of it, completely unacceptable and I will also be investigating that,” ALP national secretary George Wright.
“They are there as observers and they should just be observing, not posting stuff on social media and certainly not doing the type of things they are depicted doing.”
Sanders is currently challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. The senator lost the Nevada caucuses to Clinton last week as well as the South Carolina primary today.