REPORT: Former FEC commissioners speak out: Trump-Cohen ‘hush’ payments not necessarily a violation


Michael Cohen’s guilty plea and subsequent sentencing for campaign-finance violations and other crimes revived speculation about President Trump’s potential legal exposure — but some former Federal Election Commission members say neither of them necessarily committed a violation with hush-money payments to purported Trump paramours.

The salacious details of those payments, which have steadily come to light in the course of two investigations into Cohen and in turn compelled Trump to acknowledge his involvement, speak to somewhat of a grey area in campaign-finance law.

The article goes on to state the following:

Top Democrats in recent days have suggested the violations amount to an “impeachable offense” and could even merit future prosecution. According to Cohen, Trump ordered him to make payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels going into the 2016 presidential campaign.

But Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner on “Outnumbered Overtime” that the Cohen payments were “not a campaign finance violation.” He has previously tweeted that they were a “simple private transaction.”

The report goes on to state that some former FEC commissioners agree with President Trump – that what he did was not a campaign finance violation – and quotes Hans von Spakovsky — who served on the FEC between 2006 and 2008.

Spakovsky published an op-ed on Tuesday for the Daily Signal, and again on Thursday for Fox News, and made the case in both articles that the campaign violations Cohen pleaded guilty to aren’t really violation.

“The Cohen guilty pleas are likely irrelevant to the fate of President Trump,” Spakovsky wrote, adding, “That’s because in my judgment – as someone who served for two years as a member of the Federal Election Commission – the campaign finance law violations Cohen pleaded guilty to committing, allegedly at Donald Trump’s direction, aren’t really violations.”

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