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NBC News Op-Ed: Stephen Spaulding: How the Trump-Stormy Daniels-Michael Cohen money triangle could violate campaign finance law

Americans have a right to know who is spending money to influence our elections — whether it’s the hundreds of millions of dollars from unknown sources that has flooded into federal elections since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision or the $130,000 in hush money paid to a porn star days before the 2016 presidential election. Rudy Giuliani has gone on a media spree recently to defend his new client, President Donald Trump, against the numerous investigations engulfing his chaotic presidency. But rather than make everything go away, Giuliani’s recent admissions have added quite a bit more fuel to one of the president’s more salacious scandals — the payment that Michael Cohen, Trump's self-described "fix-it guy," made to Stormy Daniels to prevent her from speaking about her relationship with Trump.

Money & Influence 05.3.2018

ABC News Nightline: President Trump Defends $130K Reimbursement For Stormy Daniels Payment

Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause vice president of policy and litigation, discusses the $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels in the days leading up to the 2016 election.

MSNBC The Beat With Ari Melber: Watchdog: Rudy Giuliani Gave Us 'Strong Evidence' Of Violation

Trump’s lawyer Giuliani admits that Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels. Paul S. Ryan, VP of Policy and Litigation for Common Cause, a watchdog investigating the payment as a potential campaign finance violation, tells The Beat Giuliani’s comments strongly suggest the payment was “all about the election”.

USA Today: Trump could face more legal trouble after confirming he repaid Michael Cohen, watchdogs say

If Trump knew about Cohen's payment to Daniels but didn't disclose it on his campaign's filings with the Federal Election Commission, that could amount to a "knowing and willful" violation of election law and a criminal statute that prohibits making false statements to the government, said Paul Ryan, a top lawyer with Common Cause, which has sought federal investigations into the payoff. ... Ryan, the Common Cause lawyer, said the new development changes little about group's pending complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department about the payoff to Daniels. "All of the facts support the conclusion that this was about the campaign," he said.

Washington Post: Giuliani said the Stormy Daniels payment was legal. Here’s what campaign finance experts said.

“That is an explicit acknowledgment that this payment was about the election and was about hiding information from voters immediately before the presidential election,” said Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at watchdog group Common Cause, which filed a legal claim over the payment. “That’s what makes all of this a campaign finance violation.”... Ryan, of Common Cause, said Giuliani’s comments suggested a willful violation of campaign finance law.

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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