Federal Probe Opened Into Potential Corruption At Trump Super PAC

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Investigators at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) are newly scrutinizing the Make America Great Again, Again! super PAC, which is a Trump-aligned fundraising organization that was created in the wake of a new controversy surrounding Corey Lewandowski, who was revealed to have apparently sexually assaulted a conservative donor while leading a different Trump-aligned super PAC. Creating the new organization allowed for distance from Lewandowski.

Federal authorities are specifically looking into the relationship between the new super PAC and Make America Great Again Policies Inc., a Florida-based nonprofit organization originally created by Lewandowksi. Former Florida Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi evidently took over that nonprofit — and she also leads the new pro-Trump super PAC. Former Trump administration officials including Ric Grenell and Matthew Whitaker, along with Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancée Kimberly Guilfoyle, have been brought on at both the Florida nonprofit and the new, Bondi-led super PAC — but the super PAC apparently doesn’t handle payments to these individuals. Instead, payments come through the nonprofit organization, which (outside of its connections with the Bondi-led super PAC) doesn’t appear to actually do anything in terms of political action or, well, anything else.

The backdrop for the ties between the nonprofit and the super PAC has been characterized as a “cost share agreement.” And now, the FEC has “sent the super PAC a letter saying that’s not cutting it. The group needs to explain exactly what they mean by “cost share agreement,” the letter said, because what they provided is not adequate,” as The Daily Beast explains. Attorney Brett Kappel, who’s with Harmon Curran and specializes in related areas, explained: “If the super PAC was found to be “connected” to the MAGA Policies nonprofit… that means it can only raise money from people tied to the nonprofit—and not from the general public,” The Daily Beast summarizes (that’s not a direct quote from Kappel). Obviously, such a finding would force a re-organization in Trump World’s fundraising corner, because the hundreds of millions of dollars the former president and his cronies have brought in make clear that Trump and those around him are serious about keeping fundraising going at a rigorous pace.

“The full Trump-aligned apparatus counts a dozen separate political committees and dark money organizations” at this point, The Daily Beast explains. The Bondi-led organization, which is included in that list, has already brought in some $12.5 million. Going forward, Republican fundraising tactics have been among the items under investigation by the House committee looking into the Capitol riot. Although Republicans essentially immediately began work on appealing, a federal judge recently ruled in favor of House members amid a dispute between investigators and the Republican National Committee over a subpoena the riot panel issued for records from Salesforce, an email vendor the national GOP used for fundraising messages — messages, it’s important to note, that spread the false notion of a stolen presidential election. The same judge also concluded, contrary to certain right-wing claims, that the riot panel was legitimately constituted, meaning its general authority stands.