Trump’s Stormy Daniels affair took on a new and litigious twist after a watchdog group filed a complaint with the Justice Department and the FEC. Now, it looks like legal precedent may make the case even stronger, which is bad news for Trump.
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Senator John Edwards was indicted on charges of accepting illegal campaign donations when it came out that he had funneled $1 million in contributions to hide an affair with his mistress, Rielle Hunter, and her resulting pregnancy from his wife.
The fallout from that affair combined with Edwards’ losses in the 2008 primaries and caucuses negatively impacted his presidential hopes and then his chances at the vice presidency.
Trump’s affair and hush money situation avoided revelation until well into the first year of his presidency. But Common Cause argues that the failure to report the $130,000 – regardless of where it came from, even if the source was Donald J. Trump himself – constitutes a violation of FECA.
Common Cause argued in a pair of complaints in January that the $130,000 payment made to Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, violated campaign finance laws. They argue that the “hush money” could also be called an unreported in-kind donation to Trump’s presidential campaign because it was meant to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.
Stormy Daniels received that payment from Essential Consultants LLC, a shell corporation established by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen just weeks before Election Day. This, ahead of a planned appearance on Good Morning America in which Daniels would have revealed the details of a 2006 affair with Trump. Keeping her quiet less than a month ahead of election day was meant to keep Trump’s numbers up at the polls.
Common Cause argued that this violates the Federal Elections Campaign Act.
Campaigns are required to report all donations in excess of $200 to the FEC.
Not only that, campaigns are prohibited by federal law from accepting donations in excess of $2,700. The $130,000 is being considered a campaign donation, and therefore well in excess of the allowable limit.
Add this to the mountain of questionable financial practices Special Counsel Robert Mueller has unearthed in the course of the ongoing Russia Investigation. While Trump repeats his favorite refrain: “No collusion, no collusion,” smarter legal minds may find a way to bring him down “Al Capone” style.
All it took was one little count of tax evasion to bring down the famed gangster. Nearly identical charges torpedoed the career of John Edwards, an otherwise perfectly viable candidate. Trump may be headed for a similar fate.
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