In a new update to a previous complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), a nonpartisan group known as the Campaign Legal Center says that ex-President Donald Trump’s campaign committee and a number of his close family members perpetrated “schemes” that illegally hid the nature of their campaign spending. The Trump campaign dished out payments through a shell company called American Made Media Consultants, which handled huge sums of money overall. The “schemes disguised which firms or individuals were working for Trump’s committees, how much and when they were being paid, and the purposes of those payments,” the Campaign Legal Center says.
Federal law demands the public disclosure of “ultimate payees” of campaign spending if those individuals or interests are within an “arms length” of the campaign, and the Trump campaign seems to have clearly violated this legal demand.
Besides American Made Media Consultants, or AMMC, a company owned by ex-Trump staffer Brad Parscale was also involved in the corrupt money-moving. Jared Kushner, ex-President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and past adviser, “helped create AMMC,” according to Business Insider, and he “directed three key members of Trump’s orbit… to serve on the shell company’s board.” Those board members included Lara Trump, who’s married to the ex-President’s son Eric, former Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew John Pence, and Trump campaign official Sean Dollman. Overall, the Trump campaign routed some $617 million through AMMC, a subset of which went to Lara Trump and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, among other recipients.
Previously, Brendan Fischer — who works as the Campaign Legal Center’s director of federal reform — characterized the Trump campaign’s usage of AMMC as a “scheme to evade telling voters even the basics on where its money is really going” and a “shield to disguise the ultimate recipients of its spending.” Originally, Fischer’s organization filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against the Trump campaign back in July, at which point less about the company’s operation was publicly known. According to a Business Insider report from late last year, “For months, some of Trump’s top advisors and campaign staff told Insider they had no idea how the shell company functioned.”
A timetable for the FEC’s pending review of the Campaign Legal Center’s complaint is not immediately clear, although the organization didn’t rule out the possibility of filing a concurrent complaint with the Justice Department. Meanwhile, it’s not the only case where the former president’s allies are facing serious scrutiny for their handling of large quantities of money. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (D) has brought a case outlining allegations of serious mishandling of money by the committee responsible for Trump’s inauguration back in 2016. Among other previously raise points of concern, the committee spent over $1 million for event space at Trump’s own D.C. hotel that it ended up hardly using at all.