Democratic group accuses Trump of violating campaign finance laws by refusing to officially declare his 2024 presidential candidacy now

Bryan Metzger

Former President Donald Trump at a rally in Florence, South Carolina on March 12, 2022. Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

  • Trump has virtually declared a presidential candidacy in 2024. But once he does, he’s subject to stricter rules.

  • A Democratic group accuses Trump of breaking the law by not officially declaring his candidacy.

  • “We’re not supposed to talk about it yet from a campaign finance laws perspective,” Trump said in September.

Democratic Super PAC American Bridge filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing former President Donald Trump on Monday of violating federal campaign finance laws by not officially declaring that he is running for president in 2024.

Trump, ousted from the White House in 2020 but still in firm control of the Republican Party, has all but admitted he intends to run for president for a third time.

In January, he called himself the “45th and 47th” president during a round of golf, and just over the weekend at a rally in South Carolina, he said that “in 2024, we’re going to take back this beautiful, beautiful White House. I wonder who’s gonna do this, I wonder, I wonder.

According to the American bridgeTrump uses his “Save America PAC” – currently registered as a political committee supporting several different candidates – as a vehicle for its own 2024 ambitions, and must register its PAC as a presidential campaign committee in order to comply with the law.

That would subject him to tougher campaign finance regulations he currently enjoys, including a $2,900 limit on individual political contributions until the 2024 general election.

The group points to Trump’s own statements in recent months to build its case.

In one instance, Trump even appeared to acknowledge that he was withholding an official statement from his candidacy in order to circumvent campaign finance regulations.

“I know what I’m going to do, but we’re not supposed to talk about it yet from a campaign finance laws perspective,” Trump said. said in september asked about a potential candidacy for 2024.

The group is calling on the commission to investigate the matter and “fine Mr. Trump the maximum amount permitted by law” if he is found guilty of breaking the law.

In response, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich told The New York Times, who first reported on the complaintthat Democrats were “busy filing frivolous baseless complaints”.

As Insider previously reported, experts disagree on whether Trump can actually be found breaking the law in this case.

“If he starts spending money to run for office, that could trigger a candidacy,” Ken Gross, former associate general counsel for the FEC, told Insider in January. “Making such a statement on a golf course, perhaps in jest, about becoming the 47th president doesn’t quite get you there.”

Former FEC Democratic Commissioner Ann Ravel disagrees.

“It seems like a decision to run because he didn’t qualify it by saying ‘if I run’ – but said he plans to be the 47th president,” she told Insider. January, referring to the golf course incident. “So if he starts fundraising, he has to register as a candidate to disclose all of his expenses and contributions.”

American Bridge says Trump has raised more than $1 million and spent more than $100,000 every week since he told the Conservative Political Action Conference in February that “we’re going to do it a third time.”

Regardless of the merits of the complaint, the FEC is unlikely to take action anytime soon.

The commission still has a large backlog of cases due to a long period when the body did not have a quorum, and the committee recently let Trump off the hook for campaign finance violations “d ‘soft money’ that his campaign had even recognized.

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