DOJ & FEC Complaints Filed Against President Trump, His Campaign & American Media Inc. for Illegal, Unreported $30K Coordinated Expenditure to Squelch Rumors of Candidate’s Illegitimate Child

Today, Common Cause filed complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging reason to believe that President Trump, his 2016 presidential campaign and American Media, Inc. (AMI) violated campaign contribution limits and reporting requirements through a December 2015 payment of $30,000 to a former doorman at a Trump property to squelch rumors of then-candidate Trump having fathered an illegitimate child with an employee at Trump World Tower in New York. The DOJ this week raided the office and residences of Trump attorney Michael Cohen in its investigation of similar violations alleged by Common Cause in earlier complaints to the agency.  

The new complaint alleges that the payment from AMI to the former doorman, Dino Sajudin, was for the purpose of influencing the 2016 election and was coordinated with Donald Trump’s attorney and agent Michael Cohen—making it an illegal corporate in-kind contribution to the 2016 Trump campaign. Additionally, the payment was never reported as an in-kind contribution received, and an expenditure made, by the campaign as required by campaign finance law.

The Associated Press and The New Yorker broke the story today of AMI contacting Cohen in 2015 before the company paid Sajudin for exclusive rights to his story of rumors of Donald Trump fathering the child of an employee, which the paper then killed reportedly to protect Trump’s candidacy.

AMI, which owns The National Enquirer, is the same company that paid former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal $150,000 to “catch and kill” her story of her affair with Trump in an arrangement similar to Sajudin’s involving million-dollar penalties for violations of the nondisclosure agreements.

“We have laws to ensure disclose of who is funding presidential campaigns to protect the integrity of our democratic process,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “The president and his team seem to have repeatedly chosen to ignore campaign finance laws in an attempt to bury scandals related to the then-candidate’s extramarital affairs. We are encouraged that the DOJ is vigorously investigating the allegations outlined in Common Cause’s complaints related to earlier reports of hush money payments on behalf of Donald Trump and his campaign.” 

“These payments may well just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to violations of campaign finance laws by agents of Donald Trump to bury embarrassing stories during the presidential race and the DOJ appears to be taking these violations and Common Cause’s complaints very seriously,” said Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause vice president for policy and litigation. “Secret payments to hide affairs may have been commonplace in the president’s previous life as a tabloid figure, but when he became a candidate for the presidency, any new payments to safeguard his candidacy became violations of federal law.”

To read the DOJ complaint, click here.  

To read the FEC complaint, click here.  

To view this release online, click here.