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Why Donald Trump’s Campaign Is Refunding Money from a ‘Proud Muslim’

Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Holds Iowa RallyRepublican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Holds Iowa Rally
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa on Sept. 13.Photograph by Daniel Acker—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Donald Trump may want to ban foreign Muslims from coming to America, but that didn’t stop him from taking $225 from one Shahriyar Nasir, according to a new report from the Center for Public Integrity (CPI).

Nasir is a software engineer who calls himself a proud Muslim on Twitter. After he challenged his friend to exercise more, his friend agreed to donate to an anti-Muslim charity for every day he skipped his work out. Nasir himself is a member of West End Interfaith Refugee Support (WEIRS)—a relief group based in Toronto that sends funds to Syrian refugee families.

Trump’s been pushing his Muslim immigration ban since the San Bernardino shooting in California last December, so when it was time for Nasir’s friend to pay up, he borrowed Nasir’s credit card to donate to a Donald Trump charity. Or at least he thought he did.


“We didn’t pay close attention to the details of the transaction,” Nasir told CPI. “We inadvertently made the contribution to the [Trump] political campaign and not the charitable foundation.”

Trump’s campaign is in the process of refunding Nasir’s donation, not because he’s Muslim but because he lives in Canada: It’s illegal for presidential campaigns to accept money from foreign nationals unless they have a green card, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Nasir, however, may not have been the only foreign national to contribute to Trump’s campaign.

On Aug. 8, the FEC sent a letter to Trump staffers regarding campaign contributions totaling $1,325, which were sent from three individuals with foreign addresses.

“If you have received a contribution from a foreign national, you must refund the impermissible contribution to the donor,” FEC senior campaign finance & reviewing analyst Carolina Mongeon said. “Although the Commission may take further legal action concerning the acceptance of a prohibited contribution(s), prompt action on your part to refund or provide clarifying information concerning these contributions will be taken into consideration.”

In February, Trump’s campaign also refunded $250 sent from the legal office of white nationalist leader William Daniel Johnson who also sponsored an Iowa robocall supporting Trump’s candidacy, The Hill reported. (Robocalls are automated phone calls that call constituents and play recorded campaign messages.)

Democrat Hillary Clinton has faced criticism of her own for foreign donations sent to The Clinton Foundation, but that organization is not directly linked to her presidential campaign.

Fortune reached out to the Trump campaign staffers for comment on this story and will update it if they respond.