In a column for MSNBC, political analyst Zeeshan Aleem claimed that Donald Trump's "de facto" 2024 campaign may already be engaging in criminality as the former president rakes in contributions for a presidential run that may or may not happen.
At issue is a complaint from Democratic PAC American Bridge filed with the FEC that maintains Trump is illegally spending funds on a campaign which has failed to file the required paperwork.
As Aleem explains, "The argument behind the complaint is that Trump is using rhetoric that signals that he is, in fact, running already but declining to formally declare his candidacy to avoid the restrictions and regulations on his fundraising capacity that would kick in if he did."
According to the columnist, "Trump’s rhetorical sleights of hand raise the possibility that his de facto third presidential campaign is already marked by corruption before it even formally kicks off."
As the analyst notes, Trump can reap all the benefits of vacuuming up as many dollars as he can that keep his presidential brand front and center without having to do the paperwork that shows who the money is coming from.
According to Lisa Gilbert, the executive vice president of Public Citizen, Trump's rhetoric and rallies are clear evidence he is running.
“On its face, the combination of Trump’s own statements about 2024 and his aggressive fundraising certainly could be enough evidence to trigger the standard for becoming a candidate for president under federal law," she explained.
"The rules that would kick in with an official declaration would encumber Trump in a number of ways," Aleem elaborated. "He would have to disclose personal financial details, which he is likely keen to delay for as long as possible. There would also then be clear limitations on the amount of money individuals and organizations can give to him."
As for what Trump is doing now, the columnist alleges, "...right now he gets to use the innuendo to keep a clear lane for himself, intimidate challengers and rake in cash as if he is running, without the downsides of embracing it officially."
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