Trump appointee to be his senior White House adviser, Steve Bannon, was reported to the FBI and accused of a felony violation of campaign finance laws that occurred during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
In a statement, The Democratic Coalition Against Trump explained why they reported Bannon to the FBI:
The Democratic Coalition Against Trump reported Steve Bannon to the FBI on Tuesday morning after learning that he likely broke campaign finance laws during his time as CEO for the Trump campaign. According to FEC records, $950,090 was paid to Bannon’s company, Glittering Steel LLC, over the course of the campaign by pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Number 1. The super PAC is mainly backed by Robert and Rebekah Mercer, and Rebekah was recently named to Trump’s transition team. The most recent payment made to Glittering Steel LLC was on November 5, 2016, and a full list of the expenditures made by the PAC to Bannon’s company can be found here. Before Bannon became Trump campaign CEO in August of this year, Glittering Steel LLC was reported to the FEC at Breitbart’s address in Beverly Hills, CA. Right after Bannon became CEO, however, Glittering Steel LLC was exclusively reported to the FEC at an address in Arlington, VA.
It is against campaign finance law for super PACs to directly coordinate with the campaigns they support, so Bannon’s role as both an employee of the super PAC and campaign CEO would have broken the law. Additionally, there is a 120-day “cooling off” period for employees once they leave a super PAC to join a campaign to help avoid coordination, which Bannon would have violated when he became Trump’s campaign CEO just 9 days after being paid by Make America Number 1. The FBI’s public corruption unit has jurisdiction to investigate campaign finance crimes, and in 2015 a campaign worker was sentenced to 2 years in prison for his role in illegal coordination between a campaign and a Super PAC.
If the timeline above is correct, Bannon and Trump’s actions were a clear violation of campaign finance laws. The problem will be getting the FBI to investigate the senior White House adviser to the President Of The United States.
It is reasonable to suspect that if Trump’s administration unfolds as it is looking it might there will be many comparisons to Richard Nixon in the coming months and years. The apparent flaunting of the law by Trump and Bannon will only fuel these comparisons.
Elections have consequences, and one of the consequences of 2016 is that a man like Steve Bannon is going to be working in the White House. If the FBI does investigate Bannon, it could trigger a landslide of problems for President-elect Trump.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association