Former FEC Chairman Bradley Smith told radio host Mark Levin that the hush money payment President Trump instructed Michael Cohen to send to Stormy Daniels did not violate campaign finance laws.
Cohen pled guilty to eight counts, including two alleged campaign finance violations, involving payments to buy the silence of women who would have been detrimental to Trump’s bid for the presidency.
Smith told Levin that the payments were not directly campaign related and therefore not a violation of the law.
“When the FEC wrote the regulation that says what constitutes campaign expenditures and what constitutes personal use, it rejected specifically the idea that a campaign expenditure was anything related to a campaign, and instead says it has to be something that exists only because of the campaign and solely for that reason,” said Smith.
He added that any payments not related to “running a campaign,” even if they incidentally benefited a campaign, did not violate the law because they are personal expenditures.
Levin noted that if payments which made a candidate look better in the public eye were considered a violation of campaign finance law, a candidate buying a new car, buying better clothes or getting a better haircut could all conceivably be considered a violation too.
The media hysteria currently being whipped up around the charge is that Trump instructing Cohen to pay off Stormy Daniels and then reimbursing him is a “campaign contribution,” which many assert is not the case.
As the Conservative Treehouse blog emphasizes, “This Count Eight transaction surrounds a payment to Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) of $130,000 for a nuisance claim. Who says it is a campaign contribution? The SDNY does, no-one else. Not even the FEC considers this a campaign contribution.”
“Count eight is a political charge/plea specifically included for the purpose of pulling Donald Trump into the SDNY Cohen case. There is no FEC violation here. *Note it is not the Federal Election Commission making the claim, only the SDNY prosecutors.”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the issue, leftists immediately seized upon the news to demand that Trump be impeached, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) telling CNN, “I believe that at some point my Republican colleagues have to join in a bipartisan effort to save our democracy, which will be increasingly threatened if the president puts himself above the law. No one is above the law. We’re in a Watergate moment.”
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