A Washington D.C.-based ethics organization has discovered a peculiar transaction involving President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, totaling the same figure that adult film actress Stormy Daniels is alleged to have received from the then-candidate’s lawyer months before.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-partisan organization that attempts to “reduce the influence of money in politics and help foster a government that is ethical and accountable,” according to its website.
On Tuesday, the group tweeted out a transaction between the 2016 Trump campaign and Trump’s businesses, totaling just over $130,000.
President Trump is accused of paying $130,000 in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels to hide an affair a month before the election. In what is probably just a coincidence, the Trump campaign transferred $130K to the Trump businesses a month after the election. pic.twitter.com/KKknIC9ClC— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) January 23, 2018
Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, is accused of having created a fake company to pay Daniels off in return for her silence about an alleged affair she and Trump had several years ago. Daniels was planning to go public in the weeks ahead of Election Day in 2016 but very suddenly decided against doing so.
It was unclear why she decided to keep quiet about the subject until the Wall Street Journal unearthed the secret payment plan earlier this month. A transaction from a shell company allegedly paid Daniels $130,000 for her silence. Daniels even used a different name on the transaction, “Peggy Peterson,” to avoid suspicion.
Although all parties involved deny the affair took place, an unearthed, never published interview with InTouch magazine from 2011 suggests that Daniels did dish out details about the affair to the publication, telling them, “I actually don’t even know why I did it, but I do remember while we were having sex, I was like, ‘Please, don’t try to pay me.’”
The latest findings by CREW seem to suggest that the money to pay Daniels for her silence could have traveled through the campaign and Trump’s businesses themselves. CREW cautioned against making such allegations at this time, but it did write in tweets that the transaction raised “interesting” questions.
To be clear, we're not alleging anything nefarious took place. It was, as we said, probably a coincidence. But, as with other interesting FEC payments we flag, it's an interesting one and one worth asking about.— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) January 23, 2018
Part of what makes the $130K so interesting, and worth talking about, is that although the Trump campaign paid Trump Tower a ton of money in rent (and payroll), that is the only time the $130K figure appears. It would be good to know more about why.— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) January 23, 2018
If the payments did happen, they could be in violation of federal election law, and they deserve to be scrutinized. Trump has, so far, successfully hidden his tax returns from the American public, and it’s possible that this transaction, and others like it, could be the reason why.
The American people want to know the truth about Trump on this and so many other fronts. He is entitled to some privacy, of course, but his actions relating to possible misconduct while on the campaign trail should be investigated to the fullest extent that they can be.
Banner / Thumbnail : Jonathan Ernst/Reuters