Amended FEC Complaint Alleges that President Donald J. Trump and Attorney Michael Cohen Broke Federal Campaign Finance Laws by Coordinating with American Media, Inc. on “Catch and Kill” Payment for Trump Adultery Story

Free Speech For People, the First Government Watchdog Group to File a Complaint with the FEC Against American Media, Inc. and Trump Campaign, has Filed an Amended Complaint Calling on FEC to Subpoena Michael Cohen

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 25, 2018 –Free Speech For People filed today an amended complaint before the Federal Election Commission demanding that the Commission use its powers to obtain newly discovered audio recordings related to a payment of $150,000 from American Media, Inc. to Ms. Karen McDougal.

“Following the release of recorded conversations between President Trump and his Attorney, it’s clear that President Trump had advanced knowledge of the arrangement between American Media, Inc. and Ms. McDougal,” says Shanna Cleveland, Senior Counsel for Free Speech For People and the author of the complaint. “The payment appears even more likely to have been a coordinated effort to conceal a politically embarrassing fact and influence the 2016 general election.  If that’s the case, it is a direct violation of the Federal Elections Campaign Act and the President would be directly implicated in that crime.”

The amended complaint not only names President Trump and Michael Cohen, but calls on the FEC to use its subpoena power to obtain any additional recordings or documents that Mr. Cohen may have and to compel him to provide testimony regarding the allegations by submitting to a deposition. The amended complaint also urges the Commission to obtain the known audio files and any documents relevant to the allegation by seeking the cooperation of other federal agencies currently investigating the President, including the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

American Media Inc., the company that owns the National Enquirer, paid $150,000 for exclusive rights to a story of Karen McDougal and her affair with Donald J. Trump in 2006-07. McDougal’s earlier efforts to sell her story to the Enquirer had failed, but AMI began serious negotiations after Trump clinched the nomination.   The deal was reached in August 2016.  After purchasing the rights to the story, the National Enquirer, opted not to publish the story.

“This new audio recording indicates that Mr. Cohen and then-candidate Trump routinely discussed efforts to prevent damaging information from coming to light before the presidential election, including the allegations made by Ms. McDougal” says Cleveland. “If Mr. Cohen worked with AMI to pay Ms. McDougal to conceal a politically embarrassing fact and influence the 2016 general election, that’s a direct violation of the Federal Elections Campaign Act.”

“The Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over civil remedies, and it should use the full scope of its powers to get to the bottom of this,” adds Cleveland.

The original complaint was filed on February 16, 2018.

Read the original complaint here.

Read the amended complaint here.