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Slate: Is It Normal for the President’s Lawyer to Run a Political Consulting Firm?

“We have an entire industry of individuals with close relationships to government officials that sell and capitalize on that relationship,” says Paul Seamus Ryan, a vice president at Common Cause, a government watchdog. Not normal: the fact that Cohen did not make his activity public by “hanging a shingle” as a lobbyist. “Doing it all in secret, never having done it before, while simultaneously working for a public official, and the public official being the president—these are new glosses on an old profession,” he observed. Not normal: trading off being not just a well-connected person but the sitting president’s lawyer. “Another thing that’s not normal is for a president’s lawyer to set up an LLC and make a hush money payment to a porn star.” Common Cause has filed complaints with the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission arguing that the Stormy Daniels payment, which was made in October 2016 from Cohen’s newly formed Essential Consultants LLC, was a campaign finance violation.

USA Today Op-Ed: Why Rudy Giuliani’s comments matter

Campaign finance scandals rarely involve details as tawdry as the Stormy Daniels fiasco and the $130,00 hush-money payment. That shouldn’t distract citizens from doing our part to hold power accountable. As the leader of the nonpartisan watchdog organization that filed the first campaign finance complaints related to President Trump and Daniels, my request is simple: Follow the money and hold any violators — including the president of the United States — accountable to laws that protect the integrity of our democracy.

New York Times: Trump Says Payment to Stormy Daniels Did Not Violate Campaign Laws

Paul Seamus Ryan, vice president for policy and litigation at Common Cause, said the latest explanation of the payment — that Mr. Trump reimbursed Mr. Cohen — does not eliminate the possibility that the payment violated campaign finance laws. “A lot of contradictions coming out of Team Trump this morning,” Mr. Ryan said in an interview with The New York Times. “This payment was to influence the election,” he added. And he said new details about the payment and repayment could raise additional legal problems because it might violate campaign finance laws about straw donors that prohibit making a donation in the name of another person.

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