Complaint: Pro-Trump Group Spent $22 Million to Influence Election but Failed to Disclose Donors
WASHINGTON – Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that 45 Committee – a dark money group that reported spending over $22 million supporting Donald Trump in the final weeks of the 2016 election – failed to register as a political committee and disclose its donors, as required by law.
Under federal law, an organization must register as a political committee – and file regular reports disclosing its contributors and spending – if it has the major purpose of electing a candidate. Over half of 45 Committee’s spending in 2016 went towards election-related expenditures. This and other facts described in the complaint establish that its major purpose was electing Trump under FEC guidance and judicial precedent.
News reports from 2016 indicated that 45 Committee made “a particular effort to win over donors who want to help Trump but are leery of having their names publicly associated with the polarizing Republican nominee.” One fundraiser told Politico that “[t]here are more donors who are willing to support Donald anonymously than with their names on it.”
“The public shouldn’t be left in the dark about who is funding a multi-million dollar effort to elect the president,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal reform at CLC. “45 Committee pitched itself as a vehicle for donors to secretly support Trump, and most of its spending in 2016 supported Trump’s election – so the law requires that it register as a political committee and publicly disclose its donors. If the FEC doesn’t step up their game and enforce the law, megadonors will continue to secretly buy influence.”