Hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels about an alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump in 2006 may have been in the form of an illegal campaign contribution.
The watchdog group Common Cause filed a complaint on Monday with both the Federal Elections Committee and the Department of Justice to investigate the payment of $130,000, reportedly made to Daniels by Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, one month before the 2016 election. The complaint asserted that payment could have been an “unreported in-kind contribution,” which would be a violation campaign finance laws.
Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn issued a statement emphasizing the importance of financial transparency in elections “no matter how embarrassing the reason behind the expense.”
“Candidates and their attorneys cannot choose how and when to comply with federal campaign finance laws. We strongly urge the Justice Department and the FEC to fully investigate these apparent illegal activities and if appropriate to take action to hold the President and his campaign accountable,” Flynn said.
Cohen denied the allegations in an email on Monday:
“The Common Cause complaint is baseless along with the allegation that President Trump filed a false report to the F.E.C..”
The Wall Street Journal was the first on the alleged sexual encounter last week; and Trump has not made any comments, and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, has denied there was an affair.
WSJ also reported that corporate documents show that in October of 2016 Trump’s lawyer set up and sent $130,000 payment from a bank account in the company’s name to an account connected to Daniels’ lawyer.