A split Federal Election Commission said it won’t pursue a complaint that former President Donald Trump violated campaign finance rules when his lawyer tried to buy an adult film actress’s silence before the 2016 presidential election.
The commission’s decision, made public Thursday, was the result of a deadlock between Republican and Democratic members during a meeting in February. Four of the six commissioners must agree to proceed with an action.
Mr. Trump’s then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty in 2018 to making hush-money payments to the adult film actress and coordinating another payment to a former Playboy model. Mr. Cohen said in court that Mr. Trump was aware of the payments to the women, which weren’t disclosed on the Trump campaign’s financial reports.
Mr. Cohen arranged for a $130,000 payment to Stephanie Clifford, who used the stage name Stormy Daniels, a month before the election as part of a nondisclosure agreement that prevented her from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, The Wall Street Journal first reported in January 2018, citing people familiar with the matter.
Within days of the report, Common Cause, a government watchdog group, lodged the FEC complaint against Mr. Trump. The organization said in a statement Thursday that the failure to pursue a case against the former president is “the latest display of dysfunction at the FEC.”
Source: WSJ – US News