Millions of dollars were raised by former President Donald Trump’s political action committee in the days after the FBI searched his Mar-a-Lago residence. hide caption – Morry Gash
switch to caption Morry Gash/AP
Millions of dollars were raised by former President Donald Trump’s political action committee in the days after the FBI searched his Mar-a-Lago residence.
Morry Gash / AP The political action committees for former president Donald Trump raised millions of dollars from supporters in the days following the FBI search of his home at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
That donation haul, which The Washington Post revealed, significantly improves Trump’s PAC fundraising, which was lagging in July. The Save America PAC, Trump’s largest political action committee, still had a staggering $99.1 million on hand at the end of last month, and the millions raised following the Aug. 8 FBI search added to the former president’s enormous war fund.
There are essentially no limitations on how Trump can use the PAC money while he is not a candidate for president, according to regulations from the Federal Election Commission and experts on finance law. If Trump decides to run again in 2024, the funds received can’t be utilized for that campaign, according to analysts.
However, Trump doesn’t exactly have a reputation for abiding by FEC regulations, and despite numerous campaign finance complaints, there hasn’t been much enforcement.
Up to 40 complaints complaints have been filed against the former president since 2016, but the FEC has taken no action in any of them, including the claim that Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential race. It raises concerns about whether Trump may be held responsible for any future transgressions.
The Commission frequently divides along partisan lines. Three Democratic and three Republican commissioners make up the FEC; they are all selected by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Any finance violation claim must have four votes to advance, but lately the commission has been impassed along partisan lines, especially in cases that involve Trump .
Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub told NPR that “the impasse on important enforcement items has been an ongoing problem for quite a long time.” “I don’t believe we are carrying out the duties Congress assigned to us. I don’t believe the legislation is being enforced in a proper manner.”
Republican commissioners argued that moving forward would not be “the best use of agency resources” in certain recent complaints that the FEC chose not to investigate. Democratic commissioners said that Republican counterparts are “ damaging ” in the campaign financing system, including Weintraub.
Weintraub noted that the commission didn’t always behave in a political fashion, adding that “we used to work better at getting four votes to pursue enforcement actions…. Commissioners used to work harder at finding a path ahead.” “I am concerned that there is a new partisan undertone.”
Trump is hinting at running in 2024 but hasn’t officially announced it. Trump’s PACs are not subject to campaign finance regulations since he has not formally declared whether he will run for president in 2024, however they still must report items like donor information.
“Because it is not campaign money, there are essentially no restrictions on it. One thing he cannot do with it is use it for his campaign, but other than that, there are no restrictions on how those monies may be used “According to Ken Gross, a former FEC assistant general counsel, NPR.
In other words, the PAC funds can be used for Trump’s campaign-related expenses as well as his rallies across the nation. However, restrictions apply if Trump declares his candidacy and spends $5,000 on his campaign for office. The FEC asserts that Trump would not be permitted to use the funds he would begin raising in a campaign account for personal use .
He is now advancing his candidacy, according to Gross, if he publicly declares, “I’m going to be the next president of the United States,” “I’m running for president,” or “Vote for me.”
After then, any funds that Trump spends on his campaign—whether they are used for travel or TV advertisements—will be viewed as campaign expenditures and must be taken from his campaign account.
But when it comes to a prospective presidential bid, Trump is being a little evasive. Although he hasn’t declared a campaign, he has made hints.
Gross suggested that Trump’s evasion of campaign funding regulations may be done on purpose, but he noted that Trump “No way to have it both ways. He cannot say one moment that he is not a candidate for FEC reasons while simultaneously professing to be one.”
However, there is a small gap where Trump may claim to be “ millions of dollars 0.” In other words, he hasn’t formally announced but is spending money from his current PACs to see whether he can be a contender. According to Gross, if Trump did declare his candidacy, he would have to go back and register those particular costs incurred from his PAC as campaign expenditures.
Requests for comment from the media were not immediately answered by a Save America PAC or Trump spokeswoman.
THE DOJ COULD pursue criminal charges, but that would be unusual. Gross points out that there may be a lengthy back-and-forth procedure involved even if the FEC decides not to take any action to enforce any campaign financing violations.
For instance, a complainant could file a lawsuit against the FEC for failing to respond to a violation. A judge may send the matter back to the FEC and order them to find a violation if they believe there has been a clear violation. If the FEC still does nothing, a judge can provide a private right of action, allowing the complainant to go after the offender without the commission’s help.
According to Gross, it’s a challenging and uncommon process, but the Campaign Legal Center has millions of dollars 1. Additionally, American Bridge, a pro-Democratic PAC, has filed an millions of dollars 2 complaint against the FEC for failing to take action in response to Trump’s hinting at a 2024 presidential run.
The Department of Justice might also pursue criminal charges.
“There is a felony statute that they may use to prosecute Trump. But they are uncommon. However, if it was a clear-cut case of knowing and willingly breaking the law, it is a possibility “added Gross.
Gross notes that the issue is that the DOJ intervening to pursue criminal prosecution might be perceived as a clear political hit on Trump during an election.
“I’m not sure if the DOJ would go there. Additionally, this would directly affect his campaign, “added Gross. Legally, it is feasible, but politically, it is unlikely.