Common Cause et al. v. Trump (Trump Tower Meeting Solicitation)
On July 10, 2017, Common Cause filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Donald Trump Jr., in his role with the Trump campaign, illegally solicited a political contribution from a foreign national—in the form of opposition research information he believed would be damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Trump Jr. admitted to The New York Times that on June 9, 2016, he met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who had promised him “damaging information about Hillary Clinton.” By that time his father had already secured the Republican nomination for President and Trump campaign chairman Paul J. Manfort also attended the meeting at Trump Tower as did Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump Jr. issued the statement to say that he had not in fact obtained the promised information but instead had been misled and lobbied on specific U.S.-Russian foreign policy issues. Nonetheless Trump Jr.’s meeting constitutes an illegal solicitation of a foreign national “contribution” by him and the Trump campaign. Federal campaign finance law defines “contribution” to include anything of value given for the purpose of influencing a federal election. And federal law prohibits any person from soliciting or receiving a contribution from a foreign national.
On July 13, 2017, together with the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 amended and expanded its July 10 complaint, adding more facts and alleged violations.
On April 30, 2019, Common Cause, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed a supplement to its 2017 complaint with the FEC, to include new facts and legal analysis from Special Counsel Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller's report underscores the validity of the allegations made in 2017 by Common Cause, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21.