Former President Donald Trump is doing well in his attempts to circumvent campaign finance laws. The Daily Beast reported that over the past six years, Trump is 43-0 against the Federal Elections Commission, which regulates campaign fundraising.
According to Trump, he's facing another partisan witch hunt by Democrats, and his appointees to the commission have done their best to protect him.
The agency has been largely deadlocked along party lines in many cases. It has earned them criticisms for being largely ineffective if not "broken." Conservatives, however, don't want any regulation or disclosure of campaign spending
There are 15 complaints that individuals have filed, and 28 complaints have been brought by the internal nonpartisan Office of General Counsel. Of those 28 complaints, 22 were elevated to the FEC for a ruling.
“That list is appalling,” complained former Democratic Commissioner Ann Ravel. “You have to have an agency that is willing to enforce the law. If people know that it’s not going to be enforced— and campaign lawyers know that—then they can act flagrantly, because they are assured of a friendly outcome.”
Jordan Libowitz, communications director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) lamented that the FEC “just doesn’t want to enforce the law.”
Over “forty is kind of an incredible amount. Half a dozen were dismissed against Obama in two terms. Obviously, Trump has had a significant amount more filed against him, but we’re now looking at an FEC that doesn’t want to do its job,” Libowitz continued. “And by FEC here, I mean ‘Republican Commissioners.’”
The Office of General Counsel's complaints include findings from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which uncovered illegal foreign donations to Trump's campaign. Yet, even in that case, the Republican appointees refused to hold Trump accountable. When Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen handed over hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, the Republican panelists still refused to act.
Then there's the case of the National Enquirer giving payments to Karen McDougal to keep her Trump affair story out of the news for the 2016 election. They all agreed that the effort was coordinated to benefit Trump. Still, the GOP members refused to hold him accountable.
There was also the illegal coordination between Trump's campaign and a super PAC supporting him. The Daily Beast also recalled the "shady foreign data firm, Cambridge Analytica," which, in 2016, also coordinated efforts to help Trump.
Due to Republican resignations, the FEC also couldn't make a quorum to enforce any of the laws between Sept. 2019 and Dec. 2020.
“Trump is a walking playbook for how to violate campaign finance laws and get away with it,” said Common Cause litigation chief Paul S. Ryan. He explained that several cases are close to home for Trump, including the Daniels payment, “complaints related to his soft money group America First Policies, his involvement with now-disgraced Cambridge Analytica, his solicitation of foreign campaign assistance and more.”
Ironically, Trump has spent the past year refusing to say whether he will run for office in 2024. According to Trump, it's due to campaign finance rules that state if he announces he's running it triggers a new slate of rules. It's unclear why Trump cares, since there's little chance he'll ever be held accountable if he did break the rules.