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Trump Administration/Executive Ethics

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Voting & Elections 04.10.2023

Associated Press: Trump’s response to criminal charges revives election lies

Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs for Common Cause, which has long been critical of Trump’s allegations of election rigging, noted that all the investigations of the former president began well before he started running for president again. “Nobody is above the law, including former presidents, and running for president cannot and must not serve as a shield for wrongful conduct,” Scherb said.

Charleston Gazette-Mail: As Morrisey mounts gubernatorial run, environmental advocates fear he has damaged WV's climate future

“Attorney General Morrisey should know better,” Aaron Scherb, senior legislative affairs director at Common Cause, a Washington, D.C.-based government watchdog group, said in a phone interview. Common Cause filed complaints with the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission against Trump in 2018 alleging a $130,000 payment to Stephanie Clifford, a pornographic actress known as Stormy Daniels, was an unreported in-kind contribution to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign committee in violation of federal law. “[T]he former president deserves the same treatment as any American,” Scherb said. Scherb argued that some Republican elected officials attacking Trump’s indictment are pandering for his support with their eyes on higher office.

The Motley Fool: Moment of Trump

Just days after the story came out, Common Cause, a Washington-based watchdog group, filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission alleging the $130,000 payment to Daniels amounted to an unreported, illegal in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign for the purpose of influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, made in coordination with Cohen. At the time Common Cause did not know it was Cohen himself who had made the in-kind payment, but later amended the complaints to account for Cohen's claims, which the group noted exceeded the legal limit for campaign gifts by $127,000. No charges would be filed against Trump while he was still a sitting president, as is the custom rather than settled law, though Cohen did go to prison after pleading guilty to tax evasion and violating campaign-finance laws.

Tribune News Service/Inside Sources/MSN (Op-Ed): No American is above the law, not even former presidents

At the height of the Watergate crisis, the Department of Justice determined that the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting president “would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.” That policy has not changed, but that is not the policy for candidates for the nation’s highest office. Running for president cannot and must not serve as a shield to allow criminal conduct to go unpunished.

New York Times: Michael Cohen’s Long Arc From Trump Ally to Chief Antagonist

But one issue trailed him: a complaint had been filed with the Federal Election Commission by the good-government group Common Cause about his payment to Ms. Daniels, which was publicly revealed in January 2018 by The Wall Street Journal.

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