Feds looking into Trump's intentionally confusing network of super PACs: 'All of this is totally unprecedented'
Donald Trump addresses supporters at the Peabody Opera House in Downtown Saint Louis in 2016. (Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com)

Federal authorities are looking into the relationships between a dozen similarly named political action committees aligned with former President Donald Trump.

The inquiry is linked back to a super PAC named “Make America Great Again, Again!” that was set up after former top aide Corey Lewandowski got fired from another pro-Trump super PAC after allegedly sexually assaulting a major donor but refused to step down, and federal election officials are looking into why some of these groups aren't properly reporting their payments, reported The Daily Beast.

“It is worth emphasizing: All of this is totally unprecedented for a former president,” said Brendan Fischer, deputy executive director of good government group Documented. “Even if Trump kept it simple, and just had one hard money PAC, a single super PAC, and a pair of 501(c)(3)/501(c)(4) nonprofits, there would be no parallel with any former president in American history.”

Trump's personal financial disclosures reveal ties to more than 500 entities, including nearly 400 that use his name or initials, and many of them have tangled links to one another, and this intentionally confusing structure makes it difficult to trace the billions of dollars he and his accountants move around -- and he has brought the same practices to his political operations.

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“Typically, former presidents focus on their presidential library, or start a charitable foundation, but Trump is staying in the political game and raising a staggering amount of cash,” Fischer said.

Trump-aligned super PACs raised hundreds of millions of dollars last year, but it won't be clear how much so-called dark money groups raised or how they spent those funds until after the midterms, and filing on Wednesday showed the Trump campaign isn't even able to follow its own money.

“The central lesson of Watergate is ‘Follow the money,’” said Brett Kappel, a specialist in campaign finance and nonprofit law at Harmon Curran, "and this byzantine structure of different types of legal entities — which are subject to different fundraising restrictions and file different reports with different agencies according to different filing schedules — appears to be designed to make that task as difficult as possible.”

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