This is the case of the missing 28 cents — and it HAS TO involve more than mere coincidence.
Just a few days after Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen “allegedly” paid $130,000 to porn actress Stormy Daniels (which he said was paid from his home equity account), his presidential campaign received invoices from Trump companies that added up to exactly $129,999.72
Did Trump’s lawyer arrange for Trump’s company to pay Trump’s campaign the money that was sent to Daniels? If so, there are going to be a whole host of new ethical and legal problems for Trump, Cohen, and the Trump Organization.
Let’s summarize these allegations as follows: the federal election laws do not allow campaigns to pay hush money to porn stars with whom the candidate has had a sexual relationship. These kinds of payments are not considered valid campaign expenditures.
Social media is on fire with questions about whether or not the Trump campaign received an illegal campaign contribution and paid unauthorized expenses under the terms of a contract (called a nondisclosure agreement) that Trump had with Daniels.
On Oct. 17, Stormy's attorney told Trump's attorney to pay the settlement right away, or the deal was off. That day the Trump campaign began a series of payments to Trump Org totaling $129,999.72.
The odds that this result is just a coincidence? About .1%https://t.co/WpQ2YocSJO
— Susan Simpson (@TheViewFromLL2) March 12, 2018
The Trump campaign made five payments in Oct. 2016 totaling $129,999.72. Was this random chance, or Stormy Daniels?
My brother (cofounder and chief analyst at @ModeAnalytics) and I built a statistical model to check.
99.9% probability it wasn't random.https://t.co/Fd0SXHOUkK
— Will Stancil (@whstancil) March 11, 2018
Many ethics experts (as well as Democrats in Washington) have raised concerns that the sexual hush money payment to Daniels was an illegal campaign contribution to Trump’s presidential campaign.
One prominent watchdog group called Common Cause has submitted a complaint to BOTH the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Common Cause’s complaint alleges that the payment made (by Cohen or Trump) was actually an “in-kind contribution” to Trump’s campaign, but was not reported on the required FEC disclosure forms. These forms must be filed by every campaign and they are required to disclose all the details about where the contributions come from and where the expenditures are made.
In a related story that is sad, funny and disturbing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last week bragged during a press conference that Trump had already won arbitration against Daniels. This got her into a lot of hot water with her boss who had been denying both an affair with Daniels and the existence of a nondisclosure agreement that would require arbitration. So Sanders confirmed to the press something that Trump has always denied.
But it is no joke that two Democratic Members of Congress are referring the case to the FBI to investigate whether the $130,000 payment was in fact a campaign contribution in violation of federal laws. Stay tuned — there may be more indictments coming any day now!