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FEC Let Trump Off For Using Millions In Charitable Donations To Veterans For Political Purposes

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) let Trump off the hook, for allegedly using $2.8 million in Charitable Donations to Veterans, but used the Donations for Political purposes. The Veterans Event that triggered the Initial Campaign Finance Violations Complaint, was in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. The Commission's Democrats accused their Republican Colleagues of Voting against Enforcing the Law. Trump steered the Money to his Foundation and also gave out $100,000 Checks to Bolster his Image.

Even after the FEC's Legal Counsel said he Violated Federal Campaign Finance Laws, the Republican Members Voted against Charging Trump, according to Documents made Public this week.

At stake was whether Trump Violated Laws prohibiting "soft money" Spending, using Unregulated, Non-Campaign Funds for Political Purposes, in connection with his 2016 Presidential Campaign. Specifically, Trump funneled roughly half of the $5.8 million he Raised at the E to his now-defunct Donald J. Trump Foundation. The Trump Campaign then steered how the Foundation, spent $2.8 million just ahead of the Iowa Republican Caucuses.

The Campaign Legal Center, an Ethics and Government Watchdog, slammed the Commission in a Statement: "The FEC failing to enforce campaign finance laws is nothing new, but the latest deadlock may be a new low," said Erin Chlopak, Senior Director for Campaign Finance at Campaign Legal Center. "The Commission's non-partisan, career attorneys found reason to believe the Foundation was illegally used to benefit Trump's presidential campaign. The Republican Commissioners voted not to pursue the matter. It is time for the FEC to do its job."

Democratic Commissioners Shana Broussard and Ellen Weintraub, Accused their Republican Colleagues of "eroding the public's trust in the integrity of the federal campaign finance process" by Blocking the Enforcement of Federal Law.

"This is one in a long series of matters that we've had where our nonpartisan professional staff have recommended moving forward in some way against a complaint involving the former president," Weintraub said on Thursday. "And every single time, the Republican commissioners come up with an excuse to not move forward." Weintraub suggested that Trump could've faced a "pretty hefty fine" had the Commission moved forward, given that he was Accused of a multi-million dollar Violation of Campaign Finance Laws.

"I think it would have been a strong message for us to send, to discourage that sort of activity by others," she said. "But sadly, we were not able to do that, we did not have the political will to move forward on this. I mean, some of us did."

In June 2018, New York's then-Attorney General, Barbara Underwood, referred evidence of Trump's possible Violations to the FEC, writing in a Letter that her Office had "acquired substantial credible evidence" that Trump broke the Law. In a Complaint to the FEC the following month, the Campaign Legal Center accused the Trump Campaign of Violating Campaign Finance Law for Soliciting and then using his Foundation's Share of the Veteran Donations for Political purposes based on the Evidence uncovered by the NY AG's Investigation.

Emails and other Documents, uncovered by the New York Attorney General's Investigation revealed that Trump's then-Campaign Manager, Corey Lewandowski, gave Trump's CFO Allen Weisselberg, then the Trump Foundation's Treasurer, a List of Iowa Veterans Organizations that the Trump Campaign intended to Target, in order to drum up Political Support in the State ahead of the February 1, 2016 Caucuses. Weisselberg is currently ensnared in separate Investigations by the New York Attorney General and the Manhattan District Attorney.

Trump went on to hand out 6-figure Donations, at several Events in the days before the Caucuses, giving enlarged $100,000 Checks apiece to: Partners for Patriots; Support Siouxland Soldiers; Mulberry Street Veterans Shelter; and Puppy Jake, all of which were Charities based in Iowa. He ultimately Lost the Caucus to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

In May 2019, the FEC's Legal Counsel then recommended that the Commission Vote to Investigate Trump. They reaffirmed that position in March 2020, after the Campaign Agreed to the facts of the Case as part of a Separate Settlement with the State of New York.

But there was one Major problem: the FEC had Lost its Quorum at the End of August 2019, when the Membership of Six Commissioners atrophied to just Three, barring the Commission from making any Decisions on Pending Cases. The FEC remained mostly without a Quorum until December 2020, when the Senate confirmed Three New Appointees. When the Commission finally Voted on the matter in January 2021, it Deadlocked along Partisan Lines over whether to pursue the Case. Every Republican Commissioner voted to Dismiss the Allegations entirely, while the Two Democrats and One left-leaning Independent Voted to Open an Full Investigation. It was at their First Executive Session following the Restoration of the Quorum.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


This post first appeared on The Independent View, please read the originial post: here

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FEC Let Trump Off For Using Millions In Charitable Donations To Veterans For Political Purposes


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