President Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, may have been convinced by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to plead guilty to a supposed violation of campaign finance law, but that doesn’t mean that what happened is actually a federal crime.
In fact, neither the Federal Election Commission—which is the independent agency tasked with enforcing the Federal Election Campaign Act—nor its former commissioners would likely agree with the overaggressive view that the Southern District is taking. Indeed, the Southern District’s aggressive stance on this issue might have violated the Justice Department’s own policy.
Robert Khuzami, the acting U.S. attorney standing in for Geoffrey Berman, who has recused himself from the Cohen case, says in the government’s sentencing memorandum that Cohen committed a campaign finance violation by arranging payments from corporations to two women—Woman-1 and Woman-2 (Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, respectively), who claimed they had affairs with Trump—in order to buy their silence. Cohen eventually invoiced the Trump Organization for the Daniels payment.
Khuzami asserts these were illegal corporate contributions to the Trump campaign because they were made with “the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election.” Thus, he claims, they were campaign-related expenses and all of the rules governing federal campaigns apply to the payments.
Read the full story from The Daily Signal
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