Federal Election Commission records show that the Trump campaign has spent close to $228,000 to cover some of the legal expenses for Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, and that may have violated campaign finance laws, according to ABC News. A firm representing Trump’s scandal-plagued attorney received three “legal consulting” payments from the Trump campaign. Those payments were made between October 2017 and January 2018 to McDermott Will and Emery where Cohen’s attorney Stephen Ryan is a partner.
The reason this may have violated campaign finance laws is that Cohen has said that he did not have a formal role in the Trump campaign — therefore, it is illegal to spend campaign funds for personal use. Michael Cohen’s own words are coming back to haunt him.
Stephen Spaulding, chief of strategy at the nonprofit watchdog group Common Cause said they are on “shaky legal ground.”
“It sounds like they are really pushing the envelope,” Spaulding said, adding that “If the campaign were to say they are campaign-related payments, then maybe it’s okay to use campaign funds. But he can’t have it both ways.”
Sources familiar with the matter told ABC that the legal work in question was not related to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
This news comes after federal prosecutors revealed that Michael Cohen is under criminal investigation. Cohen’s office, home, and hotel room were raided by the FBI.
Daniels is suing Cohen for defamation for saying that she lied about her alleged affair with Trump. Cohen has said that he will plead the Fifth Amendment in the lawsuit.
In the past, Trump has said that only guilty people take the Fifth Amendment, even though he has used it 97 times.
“So there are five of them taking the Fifth Amendment, like you see on the mob, right?” he said at a rally, except it was actually three former Clinton staff members who pleaded the Fifth. “The mob takes the Fifth Amendment. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”