Hush Money Trump paid to Stormy Daniels violates Election Laws (Details)


Shortly before his 2016 election, Trump sent his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to pay porn actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep her from talking about her four-month adulterous affair with Trump after he was married to Melania and had given birth to son Barron.

Trump’s campaign was at the time trying to contain the damage from the Access Hollywood tape when Fox News and other outlets began looking into reports that Trump and Daniels had an affair.

The Associated Press reported on Friday that In Touch magazine stopped the publication of Daniels’ 2011 account of her affair with Trump after Michael Cohen threatened to sue, according to four former employees. Cohen sent an email to In Touch’s general counsel saying Trump would aggressively pursue legal action if the story was printed.

Now, attorney J. Whitfield Larrabee says that hush money payoff appears to be a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA):

According to Raw Story, Larrabee said the payment to Daniels likely came from the Trump Organization, where Cohen served as lawyer and executive vice president, and would violate the FECA ban on corporate contributions to candidates and campaign committees:

Because the payment came near the end of Trump campaign, and was made to aid the campaign by purchasing the silence of Daniels, it amounted to an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign. By paying off Daniels for the Trump campaign, Trump, The Trump Organization and Cohen likely committed federal crimes.

The law considers all expenditures made by anyone in consultation or at the request of a candidate’s campaign to be a prohibited in-kind contribution.

Larrabee said Trump’s payoff also appears to have violated FECA’s $2,700 contribution limit by nearly 50 times. The value of Cohen’s services probably violated the same limit.

On top of all that, Larrabee said, the possibly illegal payoff was almost certainly not reported by Trump in required public disclosures to the Federal Election Commission—which would also be a federal crime. Trump and Cohen could have broken laws against criminal conspiracy if they knowingly skirted federal election law, which Larrabee believes they did:

Trump has been prosecuted for campaign finance violations in the past, and he knows the law quite well. Where contributions have an aggregate value of over $25,000, as is the case with Daniel’s payoff, each violation is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in the federal prison.

Larrabee intends to request a U.S Justice Department investigation and will file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission by the end of the month.