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Watchdog: FEC ignored claim that Trump campaign laundered millions

The legal watchdog wants the court to order the Federal Election Commission to respond to its complaint within 30 days.

WASHINGTON (CN) — A legal watchdog is suing the Federal Election Commission for allegedly failing to address its complaint filed two years ago claiming former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign laundered hundreds of millions of dollars.

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Washington, D.C., federal court alleging the commission has yet to respond to the group’s claims that two of the former president’s campaign committees hid their spending in the 2020 presidential election by funneling millions through two firms tied to Trump’s top campaign officials: American Made Media Consultants and Parscale Strategy.

“The effect and apparent goal of routing the campaign’s spending through conduits was to disguise the Trump committees’ ultimate payees, and the amounts, dates, and purposes of such payments, in violation of the reporting requirements,” the 16-page complaint states.

The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 requires the commission to act on a complaint within 120 days. But the nonpartisan nonprofit claims the commission has not taken any action on the administrative complaint it filed on July 28, 2020, or the supplement filed in January 2021. 

The supplement alleges the firms did not have an “arm’s-length relationship” with American Made Media Consultants, which was apparently created with approval from one of the campaign’s top officials and initially included members of the former president and vice president’s families on its board. 

“Accordingly, even as likely 2024 hopefuls — including former President Trump — are already beginning to lay the groundwork for presidential election campaigns, CLC and voters remain in the dark about how the Trump campaign spent its money in 2020,” the 16-page complaint states.

Campaign Legal Center argues the FEC’s failure to enforce its campaign disclosure requirements “undermines voters’ ability to ‘make informed decisions.’”

“Moreover, the commission’s prolonged inaction in this matter encourages future campaigns — including any 2024 Trump presidential campaign — to seek to evade the Act’s reporting requirements by similarly laundering payments through a small number of reported vendors,” the complaint states.

Additionally, the legal center claims the commission’s failure to act on the complaint deprives the center of statutorily mandated information it relies on to advance its mission “to strengthen American democracy.”

The legal watchdog wants a judge to declare that the commission’s failure to address the complaint violates campaign finance disclosure laws and to order the commission to act on the complaint within 30 days.

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