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Trump is spending on 2024 like he’s already announced, spurring suit

A Democratic super PAC says campaign-finance rules require Donald Trump to officially declare his 2024 candidacy before he can spend money on the election.

WASHINGTON (CN) — Democratic super PAC American Bridge filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission on Monday, claiming former President Donald Trump is violating campaign finance law by spending money on a bid for the White House that he hasn't yet formally announced.

The complaint cites Trump's own statements about his 2024 political ambitions, including comments he made during a golf game in January during which he called himself the "45th and 47th" president of the United States.

Meanwhile the Save America PAC has spent "well over $5,000 on travel, events at Trump properties, rallies featuring Mr. Trump, consulting payments to former Trump campaign staff, and digital advertising about Mr. Trump's events and his presumptive 2024 opponent," according to the complaint.

Candidates for federal office are required by law to declare their candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission once they've decided to run and start fundraising, a move that puts in place rules for how candidates can spend and raise campaign dollars.

American Bridge argues that Trump has already begun his run for the White House and is delaying a formal declaration to avoid federal campaign restrictions. Federal law requires presidential candidates who spend or fundraise more than $5,000 to register with the Federal Elections Commission, something Trump has yet to do.

As for trying to claim ignorance now, to the complaint recalls Trump's response to a direct question back in September about his intent to run again.

"I know what I'm going to do, but we're not supposed to be talking about it yet from the standpoint of campaign finance laws," Trump said.

American Bridge argues that the political action committee Save America has nevertheless started to function as a campaign vehicle for Trump.

Though technically a multi-candidate PAC, Save America has spent significant funds on Trump and his real estate properties, including more than $100,000 at Trump Tower since July 2021, according to Monday's filing.

"In light of Mr. Trump's recent statements, these expenditures can only reasonably be interpreted as being made for the purpose of influencing his campaign," the complaint states.

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich has denied the complaint's allegations.

“America is spiraling into disaster because of the Democrats’ failures, and instead of reversing course, they are busy filing frivolous complaints that have zero merit,” Budowich told to The New York Times, which broke the story.

The filing calls for Trump to face an investigation, though any discipline for Trump would be unlikely at the bipartisan FEC given its sluggish output.

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