Trump knows a lot more about campaign finance law than he's letting on -- and here's proof
Donald Trump answers questions from John Paulson at the Economic Club of New York at the Waldorf Astoria in 2016. (Evan El-Amin /

Sworn testimony given by Donald Trump two decades ago could undermine his defense if he's hit with charges related to the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

Trump submitted a sworn affidavit in 2000 to the Federal Election Commission demonstrating a complex understanding of the campaign finance laws that Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg Jr. seems to believe he broke, after he was asked to testify about contributions made to failed U.S. Senate candidate William Gormley, reported The Daily Beast.

“I neither reimbursed, nor caused any other person to reimburse, any employee of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. or its subsidiaries for his or her contribution to Gormley for Senate,” Trump wrote at the time.

The FEC was at the time investigating a fundraising event Trump hosted for the Republican candidate, and Trump made a sworn statement that he had acted “solely in my individual capacity," and not as a corporate official, and “took no action, of any nature, kind or description, to compel or pressure any employee” to make a donation.

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That case forced Trump to express a fairly sophisticated understanding of campaign finance laws, and showed he was quite familiar with the boundaries that constrain corporations and third parties from making in-kind contributions to candidates for federal office.

More than 20 years later, the ex-president is accused of directing his former attorney Michael Cohen to pay the adult film actress $130,000 to keep her claims about an affair out of the press before the 2016 election and reimbursing him through the Trump Organization in monthly payments falsely recorded as "legal expenses."

Trump, ironically enough, could have given as much as he wanted to his own campaign, but personally paying off Daniels would have revealed the alleged affair to the public in the days after his "Access Hollywood" recording nearly sunk his campaign at the finish line.

“Initially Michael Cohen paid Daniels, then the Trump Org reimbursed him. At that point, the Trump Org became a contributor to the Trump campaign, which corporations are prohibited from doing,” said election law expert Paul S. Ryan, who filed an FEC complaint in 2018 about the arrangement. “These payments would not have been made but for the election, and were only made as the election drew near, right on the heels of the leaked 'Access Hollywood' audio."