Complaint Says Trump Campaign Payments Broke Rules

The Wall Street Journal

The Campaign Legal Center says in the complaint filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission that other records show the campaign has used an external firm to buy TV and radio advertising, but that company isn’t named in disclosure filings, nor were some other vendors that have been publicly connected to the campaign. “The campaign’s failure to itemize disbursements to its ultimate vendors means that the public is left in the dark about the entities working for the Trump campaign, the nature of their services, and the full amount they are paid,” the complaint says. That Alexandria, Va.-based media buyer, Harris Sikes Media, doesn’t appear in Trump campaign FEC reports, suggesting it is a vendor paid by American Made Media or Parscale Strategy, the Campaign Legal Center’s complaint says. “We can only speculate about what might be being hidden,” Brendan Fischer, Campaign Legal Center’s director of federal reform. He said it is important to have full disclosure to ensure the campaign isn’t violating rules about overpaying relatives and sharing vendors with super PACs, for example. Republican Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign created an entity called American Rambler to pay for media and polling services. But the Campaign Legal Center said American rambler directly purchased those services rather than hiring other vendors to do so, as the complaint alleges the Trump campaign is doing. Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign paid its law firm, Perkins Coie, which paid the firm Fusion GPS for opposition research on Trump’s Russia ties. Fusion GPS never appeared in FEC reports. The Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint to the commission in 2017 that remains unresolved. Campaign Legal Center officials said the amount in question in the Trump campaign is more than past campaigns have paid to undisclosed vendors.“They may not have invented these practices, but they have taken them to a new and unprecedented level,” Mr. Fisher said.

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