WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Donald Trump soaked up political donations at an unprecedented level for a former US president, pulling in $170 million before the elections. middle of this year.
Now that he has begun a new run for the Republican nomination, he faces a dilemma – how to use the $69 million that his political action committee Save America said it banked in late October, which campaign rules say will it can be used by any candidate. for the office but himself.
The multimillion-dollar transaction could show how Trump can reverse that bond.
Save America, which Trump registered after the 2020 election to fund political allies, wired $20 million on October 3 to Make America Great Again Inc, also known as MAGA Inc, a fundraising group was tied to Trump’s inauguration in September and supported the candidates he endorsed. by the former mid-term leader, details of the project’s funding are revealed.
Many experts on American election law say that MAGA Inc will spend money to support Trump’s 2024 campaign, which he launched on Tuesday.
Registered as a Super PAC, MAGA Inc is allowed to spend an unlimited amount in support of candidates but is not allowed to coordinate spending with their campaigns.
Because Trump is not registered as the head of MAGA Inc, his defenders could argue that MAGA Inc’s future expenditures were made privately and are therefore allowed under campaign finance laws, say said Dan Weiner, director of the Brennan Center’s Elections and Government Program.
“That’s a gray area in the law that they try to exploit,” said Weiner, a former attorney at the Federal Election Commission.
Since the beginning of his campaign in 2016, during his four years in the White House and since then, Trump has enhanced the culture of American politics, mainly due to the continuation of his false claims that his downfall was the result of deception.
There was criticism from some Republicans during the midterms, as the party did less than expected, with some of its fundraisers taking money from congressional candidates.
The transfer of $20 million is prompting legal action.
The Campaign Legal Center, a non-profit government watchdog, on Monday asked the FEC to open an investigation into the movement of money, saying it was because MAGA Inc was staffed by donors. former and former Trump, “are well aware of the support fund. for Trump’s 2024 presidential candidacy.”
According to the complaint, the FEC should bar Save America from making future transactions with MAGA Inc and “seek appropriate sanctions for all violations.”
The FEC said it would not comment on the lawsuit, while Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich, who says he is also investigating MAGA Inc, did not respond to requests for comment.
Few legal experts think the FEC will stand in Trump’s way.
The administration’s six-member leadership commission is split between Republicans and Democrats, and an investigation into Trump’s finances will require a Republican commissioner to side with Democratic colleagues.
However, Trump’s decision to launch his presidential bid almost two years before the November 5, 2024, election could give watchdog groups time to use the courts. America needs to be more scrutinized, said Kenneth Gross, former head of the FEC. enforcement division.
If the FEC does not act on the Campaign Legal Center’s request for an investigation, the group can ask a judge to order the administration to launch an investigation. Still, investigations into mergers “are among the most difficult investigations” at the FEC, Gross said.
A majority of FEC voters must also approve enforcement action. The shutdown could trigger several court cases, which could end the clock before the 2024 election.
“If you’ve got a few pipe guns,” said Gross, “it’s going to take a long time.”
Jason Lange comments; Edited by Scott Malone and Suzanne Goldenberg
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