Trump Super PAC Endorsement Lays Bare Illegal Operation of Trump’s Outside Groups

Donald Trump’s official endorsement of the super PAC America First Action as the sole “approved” outside group of the President fully validates Common Cause’s 2018 Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaints that the President and the groups are violating federal campaign finance laws. Today, Common Cause supplemented its original complaints to include President Trump’s illegal solicitation of funds for the super PAC.

Common Cause originally filed its DOJ and FEC complaints in March 2018 alleging that President Trump and his campaign violated numerous campaign finance laws by setting up the dark money group America First Policies (AFP) and the super PAC America First Action (AFA). The federal law “soft money” ban prohibits any group “directly or indirectly established” by a federal candidate or officeholder from soliciting, receiving or spending any funds outside federal contribution limits in connection with an election. AFP and AFA have raised millions of dollars in excess of federal law contribution limits and have that money in federal elections since 2017. These groups will likely raise and spend hundreds of millions of dollars supporting President Trump 2020 reelection effort in violation of federal law.

The Trump campaign’s statement last week endorsing AFA as the “approved” outside group of the campaign not only reaffirmed the validity of Common Cause’s 2018 complaints, but also violated the federal law ban on campaigns soliciting or directing unlimited funds for super PACs.

“Our nation’s campaign finance laws were written to combat corruption and even the appearance of corruption, but President Trump has dropped all pretenses and freely admits that America First Action has his blessing and exists solely to support his causes and his re-election campaign,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “No American is above the law, least of all the President. If the FEC continues its refusal to enforce the campaign finance laws passed by Congress to combat corruption, then the enforcement of those laws falls to the Justice Department.”

“Immediately after the 2016 election, President Trump and his campaign set up these groups to raise and spend unlimited funds to influence elections. That’s illegal,” said Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause vice president for policy and litigation. “As these groups ramp up their illegal fundraising and spending in support of President Trump’s 2020 reelection efforts, the Justice Department and the FEC must act swiftly and decisively to stop these violations of our nation’s campaign finance laws. Americans expect and deserve better than to watch their democracy for sale to the highest bidder on the auction block.”

To read the amended DOJ & FEC complaints, click here.

To read the original DOJ & FEC complaints, click here.

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