Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) urging it to investigate Donald Trump, his 2016 campaign committee, and the Donald J. Trump Foundation. The complaint outlines how each violated federal campaign finance law by soliciting and spending soft money in connection with Trump’s 2016 run for president. “Soft money” is the term used to describe funds that don’t comply with federal contribution limits and reporting requirements.
In June 2018, the New York State attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation and sent a referral letter to the FEC. The CLC complaint provides additional evidence and analysis of campaign finance violations. Read the complaint.
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. Trump violated the law when he raised six-and-seven figure donations, some of them anonymous at an Iowa campaign event just days before the Iowa nominating caucus, and then distributed the funds at other Iowa campaign events.
Taking it one step further, the audience at the Iowa event 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. Candidates may legally raise money for charity, they just can’t do it in connection with an election.
Trump, his campaign, and his foundation blatantly ignored and violated campaign finance laws. CLC urges the FEC to investigate these allegations to enforce the soft money ban.