Not only did the “veterans’ group” hosting Donald Trump aboard the decommissioned USS Iowa last week misrepresent the size of its membership, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow reported on Monday, but it put the event on after being banned from operating in California.
Maddow explained that Veterans for a Strong America was suspended after failing to file its tax records to state officials, meaning that the Sept. 15 appearance by the Republican front-runner was illegal under California law.
“They have lost their right to do business in California,” a spokesperson for the state Franchise Tax Board told her program.
Last week, Maddow reported that the organization was in fact just one person — founder Joel Arends.
On Monday, she added that Arends also worked as a campaign consultant for former Republican senatorial candidate Annette Bosworth, who pleaded guilty to felony election law violations in July. Arends’ organization also lost its non-profit status following an IRS investigation and is also the subject of a probe in Arizona.
But despite all this, Maddow said, Trump’s campaign has insisted that it had “no knowledge” regarding the controversy surrounding Arends. Nor did the campaign allegedly know what Arends planned to do with the money raised off of his appearance aboard the Iowa.
“There’s a competence factor in letting your presidential campaign get essentially taken over to serve some third-party group that you never bothered to Google, let alone properly vet,” she said. “But if that fundraiser on that battleship last week was illegal, well, that’s something different.”
Watch Maddow’s commentary, as aired on Monday, below.