The Daily Beast: Did Trump Violate FEC Rules With Lawsuit Threat?


“If I were his lawyer, I would have advised him to send this thing from his campaign committee,” Paul Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, told The Daily Beast. Ryan reviewed the letter and said he had “a hard time believing” it could be unrelated to influencing the outcome of his presidential campaign.

“If [the Trump Organization] is a corporation, and the Trump Organization paid Alan Garten to write this letter, and this letter is for the purpose of influencing his campaign, that would amount to an illegal contribution,” Ryan said. ...

The one potential caveat is if Garten wrote this letter on a volunteer basis. But even then, as Lawrence Noble, a second senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, explained, if he used company time and company resources to write the letter, it still treads into murky legal waters.

“It’s hard to see exactly what they’re thinking about here whether they think they’ve done this legally,” Noble said. “Or whether or not they’re shooting from the hip on this.” ...

“There could be a civil penalty, the [FEC] could order that the campaign pay the company for the use of the services,” Noble explained. “In an instance where it’s a knowing and willful violation, the penalties could go up and theoretically the Department of Justice could bring a criminal prosecution.”

These instances are extremely rare and require a hefty amount of hard evidence, according to Noble. In the meantime, Club for Growth is not changing its tune. ...

“There’s clearly a reason to investigate further what’s going on there,” Noble told The Daily Beast. “It looks like it may very well be a violation of the law. It’s hard to see how they’re going to explain away everything.”

To read the entire artilce at The Daily Beast, click here.