When running for president, candidates are expected to hold big rallies, give big speeches, weigh in prominently on politics, and fundraise large sums of money. Donald Trump isn’t officially running for president. He’s just constantly holding big rallies, giving big speeches, weighing in prominently on the day’s politics, and fundraising large sums of money.
One democratic political action committee is calling bullshit, demanding that the Federal Election Commission crack down on Trump and accusing the election regulator of handing the former president an unfair advantage.
On Wednesday, the group American Bridge Pac (AB PAC) filed a complaint with the FEC, demanding it hold Trump to the financial transparency standards required of presidential candidates.
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Wednesday’s push follows an earlier complaint the group filed in March, when it alleged Trump violated the Federal Election Campaign Act. Trump violated that act, the group wrote, “by making expenditures to advance his 2024 presidential campaign without filing a statement of candidacy with the FEC or disclosing those expenditures, and by accepting excessive contributions from his leadership PAC and a joint fundraising committee.” Failing to disclose that information is depriving voters of the transparency mandated by elections law, the group said. The group also requested the committee investigate the possibility that Trump was accepting “ excessive contributions from Save America, his leadership PAC, and Save America Joint Fundraising Committee.”
AB Pac now alleges that the FEC has failed to act on the complaint. “The Commission’s inaction is allowing one candidate to build a campaign with illegal funds, giving him a competitive advantage over his opponents,” reads the filing. “If the Commission does not put a stop to Mr. Trump’s unlawful actions, it will only encourage other candidates to evade the requirements of the campaign finance system.”
With two FEC quarterly reporting deadlines having passed since they initially raised their concerns, AB PAC is demanding that the commission intercede within 30 days or they will seek recourse through a civil complaint against Trump.
Trump has embarked on a protracted public speaking tour and maintained outreach towards his base, raising millions of dollars from individual contributions and major donors in the process, and that money is being spent. In their filing AB PAC detailed how Trump’s activities, despite not having officially declared his candidacy, demonstrate he has already made a decision about running and is effectively campaigning for the presidency.
In a July, 2021 interview, Trump answered “yes” when asked by Fox host Sean Hannity if he had made up his mind about running for president in 2024. In January of this year, Trump introduced himself at an event as “the 45th and 47th” President of the United States. At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February, Trump told attendees he was going to campaign “a third time.”
In a July interview with the New York Times’s Olivia Nuzzi that he had already decided to run in the election and that “the big decision” was whether he would announce before or after the midterms. Save America has been hosting intimate dinners with major Trump donors and advisors where 2024 campaign strategies are inevitably discussed, according to Politico, sources say the former president is taking “concrete steps” to prepare for his next campaign.
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