Free Speech For People calls on the Federal Election Commission and the US Justice Department to immediately investigate whether a $1.6 million hush money payment violated federal campaign finance law.
Today, Free Speech For People announced that it filed a complaint before the Federal Election Commission and a letter with the United States Department of Justice on June 4, 2018, asking them to investigate whether a $1.6 million payment arranged by Michael Cohen was actually intended to cover up an affair between President Trump and another former Playboy model to prevent the story from damaging the President’s re-election campaign.
“Federal campaign finance laws are intended to protect the integrity of our elections and give the public confidence in the democratic process,” said Shanna Cleveland, Senior Counsel for Free Speech For People. “If this $1.6 million payment was actually intended to influence the 2020 presidential campaign by covering up yet another damaging scandal for Mr. Trump, then the American public deserves to know.”
“The Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice have the authority and the responsibility to hold candidates and their agents accountable to the rule of law. That’s why we’re calling on both agencies to open investigations,” Cleveland added.
Here’s a short run-down of why Free Speech For People called on the FEC and DOJ to investigate:
A History of Hush Money:
- We know that Michael Cohen, the President’s self-described “fixer,”has a history of setting up hush money payments to silence damaging allegations about Mr. Trump.
- Thanks to the Stormy Daniels case, we also know that Mr. Cohen used the alias “David Dennison” for Mr. Trump and “Peggy Peterson” for Ms. Daniels in the non-disclosure agreement he negotiated shortly before the 2016 presidential election.
- We also know that Keith Davidson, Ms. Daniels’ attorney when the agreement was negotiated, had a pattern of finding clients with damaging allegations about Mr. Trump and negotiating payments to keep their stories under wraps.
- We know that Mr. Cohen set up Essential Consultants, LLC in October 2016 to funnel the payment to Ms. Daniels.
David Dennison Strikes Again:
- On April 13, 2018, the news broke that Mr. Cohen and Mr. Davidson had negotiated another hush money payment between David Dennison and Peggy Peterson, but this one dwarfed the $130,000 payout to Stormy Daniels.
- According to the reports, Elliott Broidy, the deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee, was the source of the funds for a $1.6 million agreement with a former Playboy model.
- Broidy met in person with President Trump in October and December 2017, at exactly the same time that the agreement was being negotiated and the first payments were being made.
- Broidy has a history of making payments to third parties to cover up affairs. Broidy plead guilty to making illegal payments to the girlfriend of a public official and a family member of the girlfriend in a 2009 criminal case.
What we don’t know, YET:
- According to Mr. Broidy, he hired Mr. Cohen to negotiate the deal to cover up his own affair. But what we don’t know is why the going rate to cover up an affair for a little known, until now, Republican party fundraiser and businessman was over 10 times higher than a presidential candidate.
- We also don’t know why Mr. Davidson would have reached out to Mr. Cohen, who was still serving as the President’s personal attorney, to relay the allegations when it doesn’t appear that Mr. Broidy had ever used Mr. Cohen’s legal services prior to this arrangement.
Click here to read the FEC complaint.
Click here to read the letter to the US Justice Department.
Click here to download the press release.
Click here to read Newsweek’s coverage of this filing, Did Cohen, Broidy Cover Up Trump Affair with Another ‘Playboy’ Model? Watchdog Wants to Know.