Sunday night’s “60 Minutes” broadcast was the long-running TV newsmagazine’s most-watched program in more than a decade.
No surprise there. The adult film actress/director’s claims that she had sex with Trump in 2006 and a decade later accepted a $130,000 payment to keep quiet about it brings out the voyeur embedded in many of us. Daniels’ description of a threat she says was made against her – years before she was offered and accepted the hush money payment – adds an ominous element to the story.
But what should make the Daniels/Trump encounter important to every American is the overwhelming evidence that the payment to Daniels violated federal campaign finance law.
It’s clear the money was paid because the Trump team was fearful that the emergence of her story just days before the 2016 election would torpedo Trump’s chance of becoming president. That makes the payment a campaign contribution and the Trump campaign’s failure to disclose it to the Federal Election Commission illegal. And if the money came from Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, as Cohen claims, it exceeded the legal limit for campaign gifts by more than $127,000.
In an appearance today on Boston radio station WBUR’s “On Point,” Stephen Spaulding, Common Cause’s director of strategy and external affairs, laid out the legal problems the payment/contribution creates for Cohen and the Trump camp. You can listen to the full interview here:
You also may want to review:
· Common Cause’s complaints to the FEC and the Justice Department, pointing out the apparent election laws violations created by the hush money payment and asking for an investigation.
· A separate set of complaints concerning the Trump campaign’s ties to America First Policies, a “social welfare” group created by the president, Vice President Mike Pence, and their advisors to assist in the president’s reelection campaign, and;
· Complaints filed today asking for investigations of the apparent involvement of Cambridge Analytical, a London-based data analysis firm, in dispatching foreign nationals to the U.S. to provide strategic guidance to Trump and other Republican candidates in 2016 and ’14. Federal election law specifies that foreign nationals can fill only minor campaign roles.
· Common Cause’s analysis of a lawsuit file by Stormy Daniels asking a court to declare that the non-disclosure agreement she signed concerning her alleged involvement with Trump is not legal valid.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics