Author Topic: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws  (Read 839 times)

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Offline Frank Cannon

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https://dailycaller.com/2018/12/12/coven-trump-campaign-finance-spakovsky/

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Former FEC Commissioner Hans Von Spakovsky debunked the argument that President Donald Trump broke campaign finance laws by paying women he allegedly had affairs with prior to becoming president.

The president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in jail on Wednesday for a litany of crimes, including making an illegal campaign contribution amounting to $130,000 to Stormy Daniels, who alleges she slept with Trump in 2006, so she would keep quiet about the affair.

Despite the guilty plea, Spakovsky said that Trump should not be worried because it would have to be a “campaign-related expense” for the contribution break any campaign finance laws.

He also pointed out that the only other time the Justice Department tried to say payments like these were campaign-related expenses was with John Edwards. Donations to Edwards’ campaign actually went to paying his mistress, a woman who worked for the campaign and ended up having his child. (RELATED: Trump Hits Back At Michael Cohen, Justice Department Claims)

A jury, however, ruled that Edwards’ donations were not a campaign-related expense.

Offline thackney

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2018, 09:30:33 AM »
To make the claim that Trump should not have used his own money for the non-disclosure agreement means that he should have used campaign money.

Crazy stuff, not to mention the many, many members of congress that have done the same thing with tax payer money...
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Offline Frank Cannon

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2018, 09:42:57 AM »
... not to mention the many, many members of congress that have done the same thing with tax payer money...

$17 million in taxpayers money to cover up rapes, murders and other felonies. Why don't we investigate that.

Offline Sanguine

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2018, 10:14:41 AM »
To make the claim that Trump should not have used his own money for the non-disclosure agreement means that he should have used campaign money.

Crazy stuff, not to mention the many, many members of congress that have done the same thing with tax payer money...

It sure does seem to be crazy.
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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2018, 10:58:07 AM »
To make the claim that Trump should not have used his own money for the non-disclosure agreement means that he should have used campaign money.

Crazy stuff, not to mention the many, many members of congress that have done the same thing with tax payer money...


You might have a point, except Cohen did not take Trump’s money and pay off Daniels or McDougal. In the case of Daniels, he used his own money, through a home equity line, created a LLC, paid her through that company, then got reimbursed incrementally, under the guise of a retainer. They went through a number of steps to conceal it and avoid disclosure. That’s the problem. Had they just paid her and signed the NDA, without all the subterfuge, it would be embarrassing, but not illegal.
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Offline skeeter

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2018, 11:02:01 AM »
$17 million in taxpayers money to cover up rapes, murders and other felonies. Why don't we investigate that.

Whats to investigate, congress admits they've got a slush fund earmarked specifically for bimbo eruptions. If you admit it (and you aren't specifically targeted for destruction) its not illegal.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 11:06:01 AM by skeeter »

Offline aligncare

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2018, 11:10:33 AM »
To test if an expenditure made during a campaign is a violation of campaign finance laws is easy. Two former FEC chairmen, Obama’s and Trump’s spoke about the Cohen case in conversations with Mark Simon.

If a payment would not have occurred BUT FOR the campaign, it’s a campaign expense. Pretty simple.

Trump would have paid the women regardless of the campaign, just to prevent the information from getting back to his wife. Paying the hush money when public disclosure of his affair threatened his marriage is not a campaign expense. It’s something he would have paid anyway just to protect his marriage and family.

Of course, this doesn’t address the fact that Cohen plead to trumped up charges in a plea deal that was designed to cast Trump in a negative light. The theory would therefore never be tested in court; otherwise the charge would easily be thrown out, for the reasons stated above.

So despite what the New York Times breathlessly said today, Cohen is going to jail only for crimes he committed personally in his businesses. You can ignore this business about pleading guilty to campaign-finance laws, that’s simply a PR ploy; an integral strategy in Mueller (et al) cabal against our sitting president.


Online edpc

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2018, 11:19:23 AM »
Trump would have paid the women regardless of the campaign, just to prevent the information from getting back to his wife. Paying the hush money when public disclosure of his affair threatened his marriage is not a campaign expense. It’s something he would have paid anyway just to protect his marriage and family.


Except, for a decade, he didn’t, even though the stories were out there for years. It was only after the Acess Hollywood audio came out that the payment to Daniels became a priority.
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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2018, 12:39:27 PM »
To test if an expenditure made during a campaign is a violation of campaign finance laws is easy. Two former FEC chairmen, Obama’s and Trump’s spoke about the Cohen case in conversations with Mark Simon.

If a payment would not have occurred BUT FOR the campaign, it’s a campaign expense. Pretty simple.

Trump would have paid the women regardless of the campaign, just to prevent the information from getting back to his wife. Paying the hush money when public disclosure of his affair threatened his marriage is not a campaign expense. It’s something he would have paid anyway just to protect his marriage and family.

Of course, this doesn’t address the fact that Cohen plead to trumped up charges in a plea deal that was designed to cast Trump in a negative light. The theory would therefore never be tested in court; otherwise the charge would easily be thrown out, for the reasons stated above.

So despite what the New York Times breathlessly said today, Cohen is going to jail only for crimes he committed personally in his businesses. You can ignore this business about pleading guilty to campaign-finance laws, that’s simply a PR ploy; an integral strategy in Mueller (et al) cabal against our sitting president.



You are assuming facts very much not in evidence.  Trump had his affair with Daniels in 2006, but he waited until 2016, when he was running for president, and even then only after allegations about him with other women were out there, to buy Daniels’ silence?   If his primary concern was preventing his wife from hearing about the affair, he would have paid Daniels off much earlier than 10 years after the affair.

It’s entirely possible that a jury could still find that the payment was not sufficiently campaign related and that therefore Trump did not violate the campaign finance rules, but it is also true that if a jury did find that the payment was sufficiently related to the campaign, that finding would be upheld and almost certainly not dismissed as being manifestly against the weight of the evidence. 

In short, it all depends on what a jury will say if - and it’s a big if - Trump is ever charged with violating the campaign finance rules.

Offline thackney

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2018, 12:57:12 PM »
Whats to investigate, congress admits they've got a slush fund earmarked specifically for bimbo eruptions. If you admit it (and you aren't specifically targeted for destruction) its not illegal.

The claim with Trump is it is unreported campaign money used to help the campaign.  If that is true, unless all those congress critters claimed that tax-payer money was used to help their next campaign, keep their image clean for the next election, then they all have the same problem.
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Offline thackney

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2018, 01:01:45 PM »

Except, for a decade, he didn’t, even though the stories were out there for years. It was only after the Acess Hollywood audio came out that the payment to Daniels became a priority.

I would bet there have been several non-disclosure agreements in Trump's business dealing prior to this.  I would be shocked with all he does and some of the people he has been involved with if he had not.  And there is nothing illegal about doing some.
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Offline thackney

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2018, 01:05:06 PM »
You are assuming facts very much not in evidence.  Trump had his affair with Daniels in 2006, but he waited until 2016, when he was running for president, and even then only after allegations about him with other women were out there, to buy Daniels’ silence?   If his primary concern was preventing his wife from hearing about the affair, he would have paid Daniels off much earlier than 10 years after the affair....

It’s entirely possible that a jury could still find that the payment was not sufficiently campaign related and that therefore Trump did not violate the campaign finance rules, but it is also true that if a jury did find that the payment was sufficiently related to the campaign, that finding would be upheld and almost certainly not dismissed as being manifestly against the weight of the evidence. 

In short, it all depends on what a jury will say if - and it’s a big if - Trump is ever charged with violating the campaign finance rules.

Pinging @edpc  for using his response:


Except, for a decade, he didn’t, even though the stories were out there for years. It was only after the Acess Hollywood audio came out that the payment to Daniels became a priority.
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Online edpc

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2018, 01:32:22 PM »
I would bet there have been several non-disclosure agreements in Trump's business dealing prior to this.  I would be shocked with all he does and some of the people he has been involved with if he had not.  And there is nothing illegal about doing some.


Probably so. It’s the timing and payment method that’s problematic. This is an article, written at the time of Cohen’s initial plea, that I’ve previously cited....


The botched cover-up was the real problem

Still, the situation could have been salvaged with a fine (or even just a reprimand) if the Trump campaign had promptly repaid Cohen and filed a proper FEC report documenting the payment. Campaigns do this sort of thing sometimes; some campaign worker pays for some signs out of their own pocket, they get paid back by the campaign the next day, the payment gets listed in an FEC report as a reimbursement for signs purchased, nobody freaks out about it.

Instead, Trump apparently paid Cohen out of Trump Organization funds rather than out of campaign funds — which he would have had no reason to do, except to avoid having to disclose on a publicly available FEC report that the payment was made at all. It would have frankly been better to make no payment to Cohen at all than to make a payment that looked for all the world like a way to avoid disclosure. That is likely what moved the violation from the civil to the criminal realm.


https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/08/22/analysis-why-was-the-cohen-payment-to-stormy-daniels-a-crime-at-all
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Offline thackney

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2018, 01:36:23 PM »

Probably so. It’s the timing and payment method that’s problematic. This is an article, written at the time of Cohen’s initial plea, that I’ve previously cited....


The botched cover-up was the real problem

Still, the situation could have been salvaged with a fine (or even just a reprimand) if the Trump campaign had promptly repaid Cohen and filed a proper FEC report documenting the payment. Campaigns do this sort of thing sometimes; some campaign worker pays for some signs out of their own pocket, they get paid back by the campaign the next day, the payment gets listed in an FEC report as a reimbursement for signs purchased, nobody freaks out about it.

Instead, Trump apparently paid Cohen out of Trump Organization funds rather than out of campaign funds — which he would have had no reason to do, except to avoid having to disclose on a publicly available FEC report that the payment was made at all. It would have frankly been better to make no payment to Cohen at all than to make a payment that looked for all the world like a way to avoid disclosure. That is likely what moved the violation from the civil to the criminal realm.


https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/08/22/analysis-why-was-the-cohen-payment-to-stormy-daniels-a-crime-at-all

So the claim really is Trump would be okay if he just used donated campaign money for hush money?  I suspect that would also be claimed a "huge" problem.
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Offline WarmPotato

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2018, 01:38:46 PM »
Its all one big red herring!

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2018, 02:03:40 PM »
So the claim really is Trump would be okay if he just used donated campaign money for hush money?  I suspect that would also be claimed a "huge" problem.



I think the author’s point was he could have used campaign money, disclosed it, and not had a legal issue. Would it have been political fodder? Sure.
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Offline skeeter

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2018, 02:10:06 PM »


I think the author’s point was he could have used campaign money, disclosed it, and not had a legal issue. Would it have been political fodder? Sure.

On the other hand, the fact he handled the NDA as he would've if he hadn't been a candidate for office supports argument this arrangement isn't a campaign finance violation. Then it becomes a tax filing thing which usually is remedied by a simple refiling.

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2018, 02:16:27 PM »
On the other hand, the fact he handled the NDA as he would've if he hadn't been a candidate for office supports argument this arrangement isn't a campaign finance violation. Then it becomes a tax filing thing which usually is remedied by a simple refiling.


I’m not sure he went through such complicated financial gymnastics with other NDAs. The two people that would know our Cohen and Weisselberg.
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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2018, 02:27:30 PM »
On the other hand, the fact he handled the NDA as he would've if he hadn't been a candidate for office supports argument this arrangement isn't a campaign finance violation. Then it becomes a tax filing thing which usually is remedied by a simple refiling.

Not true at all. 

Oceander

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2018, 02:30:51 PM »
So the claim really is Trump would be okay if he just used donated campaign money for hush money?  I suspect that would also be claimed a "huge" problem.

If it was already money in the campaigns accounts, then the attack would be that it was an expenditure for personal purposes, and since it is illegal to use campaign funds for personal expenses, that would be a problem.

However, the solution would have been for him to use his own money, and then report it as a potential campaign expenditure.  That way, he would have been covered in either case. 
« Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 02:31:28 PM by Oceander »

Offline thackney

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2018, 02:43:15 PM »
If it was already money in the campaigns accounts, then the attack would be that it was an expenditure for personal purposes, and since it is illegal to use campaign funds for personal expenses, that would be a problem.

Which is the opposite of the current claim. 

Quote
However, the solution would have been for him to use his own money, and then report it as a potential campaign expenditure.  That way, he would have been covered in either case.

It seems rather silly to claim the legally correct method it to pretend it is both personal and campaign expense at the same time.
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Oceander

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Re: Former FEC Commissioner: Trump Did Not Violate Campaign Finance Laws
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2018, 02:55:35 PM »
Which is the opposite of the current claim. 

It seems rather silly to claim the legally correct method it to pretend it is both personal and campaign expense at the same time.

Of course.  And that’s the problem with doing something stupid and sneaky:  you give the government cart blanc to decide how it wants to go after you.  It’s like the old canard:  it’s not doing something wrong that gets you in trouble, it’s lying about it that gets you in trouble.

And no, there is nothing wrong with making a protective disclosure in order to cover your bases.  It happens all the time with taxes:  you take the position that an item you received isn’t income, but you disclose the fact of its receipt to the IRS so you can avoid penalties if it turns out you were wrong. 


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