Federal authorities deadlock on Trump money laundering complaint

  • The Federal Election Commission has been “evenly divided” in a case involving Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election committee.
  • One complaint alleged that the Trump campaign concealed the true sources of its payments.
  • Trump continues to face significant legal risk in other areas.

Federal regulators have stalled over an allegation that Donald Trump’s 2020 White House campaign laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in spending through corporate entities closely tied to the former president and his family, according to a ruling document obtained by Trump. Insider.

The Federal Election Commission’s ruling, which the agency has not yet made public, offers no reason for the bipartisan body’s decision on a detailed fix by the end of 2020 per Insider. The six-member commission was “evenly divided” on various legal issues it considered, according to a letter Monday to the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, which had filed a formal complaint.

Had the FEC ruled against the Trump campaign, the Trump committee could have faced significant fines.

The Campaign Legal Center alleged that the Trump campaign routed funds through two companies, American Made Media Consultants and Parscale Strategy, to hide its spending in the 2020 presidential election.

The Trump campaign, he further contended, had failed to maintain an “arm’s length relationship” with American Made Media Consultants, citing Insider’s December 2020 report that Jared Kushner, the then-president’s son-in-law and adviser, helped create a shell company that secretly paid members of the president’s family and spent $617 million in cash for re-election.

In the complaint, the Campaign Legal Center said the Trump campaign funneled millions of dollars to American Made Media Consultants and Parscale Strategy, which then paid the sub-vendors.

In addition to Kushner’s involvement, the lawsuit points to Insider’s report that American Made Media Consultants’ board included members of the Trump family and former Vice President Mike Pence. The other firm, Parscale Strategy, is run by former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.

The Campaign Legal Center filed an initial complaint in July 2020 and a follow-up to its complaint in January 2021, following Insider reporting on Trump campaign operations.

In March, the Campaign Law Center sued the FEC in federal court, alleging that the commission was taking slow steps in its complaint against the Trump operation.

“The FEC is responsible for protecting voters’ right to know how politicians raise and spend money, but the FEC has abdicated its responsibilities for years, particularly when it comes to enforcing the law against the Trump campaign, for what the FEC deadlock over the campaign’s mass concealment scheme is embarrassing but not surprising,” Adav Noti, vice president and legal director of the Campaign Legal Center, told Insider.

A spokesman for Trump could not immediately be reached for comment on the latest FEC ruling. The FEC did not immediately respond to a query.

More legal problems for Trump

An adverse ruling by the Federal Election Commission would have only added to Trump’s legal troubles.

Democratic Representatives Ted Lieu of California and Kathleen Rice of New York in December 2020 had called on both the FBI and FEC to investigate the Kushner-created shell company, in response to the Insider investigation. They argued that the Trump campaign may have violated laws prohibiting the spending of campaign cash for personal use and public disclosure requirements when he spent his money through American Made Media Consultants.

Separately, Rep. Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin, wrote in a December 2020 letter to then-Attorney General Bill Barr and then-FEC Chairman Trey Trainor: “If Mr. Kushner did in fact spend $617 million as reported, he and his associates, which include additional members of the Trump family as well as the vice president’s nephew, could face penalties totaling more than $1 billion.”

Trainor, one of three Trump-nominated commissioners currently on the FEC, worked as a lawyer serving Trump’s re-election effort in 2016.

In New York, Trump is facing investigations into his namesake business, with the Manhattan district attorney and state attorney general conducting parallel investigations. While the district attorney’s investigation appears to be drawing to a close, New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office has repeatedly noted in recent months that she has a wealth of evidence against the Trump Organization.

During a court hearing Friday, a New York deputy attorney general said James’ office had amassed a “substantial amount of evidence” that could support an enforcement action against Trump’s business. James had previously stated that his office has “uncovered significant evidence suggesting that Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values ​​to financial institutions for financial gain.”

Trump also faces ongoing scrutiny over his conduct in the White House. The New York Times reported last week that federal prosecutors have opened a grand jury investigation to examine whether classified White House documents brought to Trump’s Florida home were mishandled. That investigation stems from the National Archives’ discovery that, at the end of his four-year term, Trump took 15 boxes from the White House containing government documents, memorabilia, gifts and letters.

Meanwhile, the House special committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill has been preparing for public hearings likely to address Trump’s conduct that led to the insurrection. The House panel recently subpoenaed five Republican lawmakers, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, all of whom are close allies of the former president.

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