Complaint: Trump Campaign Violated Federal Law’s Soft Money Ban


Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Donald Trump, his 2016 campaign committee, and the Donald J. Trump Foundation violated federal campaign finance law by soliciting and spending “soft money” funds in connection with his 2016 run for president. The complaint provides evidence and analysis in addition to the New York State Attorney General’s FEC referral on June 14.

Federal law prohibits candidates and their agents from soliciting and spending funds in connection with an election that don’t comply with federal contribution limits and reporting requirements. Yet Trump raised six- and-seven figure donations, some of them anonymous, and announced the fundraising haul at an Iowa campaign event just days before the Iowa nominating caucus, where the audience was told “it is imperative that you all get out and caucus for Donald J. Trump and vote for Donald J. Trump.” Trump and campaign officials then timed the distribution of funds to have the maximum impact on the Iowa election, handed out checks emblazoned with the Trump campaign slogan at official campaign events, and publicly mused about how the donations were helping Trump’s poll numbers.

“Trump and his campaign misused charitable resources to unlawfully influence his 2016 election,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal reform at CLC. “Candidates can raise money for charity, they just can’t do it in connection with an election. The FEC should enforce the soft money ban.”