Largest Alleged Violation in FEC History – Investigation Blocked, Case Closed
In June, the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) announced that they would not investigate allegations that two of former President Trump’s campaign committees illegally misreported hundreds of millions of dollars in spending. If true, these allegations would constitute the “largest alleged violation in FEC history” according to FEC Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub. The initial complaint alleged that the committees failed to disclose payments to friends and family members of the former President, such as Lara Trump, who is Trump’s daughter-in-law, and Kimberly Guilfoyle – Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancé. In it’s decision, the FEC’s Republican Commissioners voted not to investigate the matter, which is therefore no longer being pursued. This situation illustrates how the FEC has consistently failed to investigate the Trump reelection campaign for alleged violations of campaign finance law.
SCOTUS Overturns Stay, “Dark Money” Donors Will Be Partially Disclosed
On September 18, 2018, the United States Supreme Court overturned a stay blocking a District Court ruling requiring non-profits to disclose identity of all contributors who give more than $200 a year. Prior to the ruling, IRS designated 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations and 501(c)(6) organizations such as business leagues and boards of trade, who do not register as political committees with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), were required to disclose donors only when they contributed for specific political advertisements. While the ruling requires the FEC to give guidance, newly issued FEC rules limit the scope of the court’s intention. It is likely that the new ruling will allow some donors to remain undisclosed while requiring partial disclosure of donors who contribute towards certain, but not all, expenditures.