Raleigh News & Observer: From Rielle to Stormy, a tale of two scandals
By Anne Blythe and Brian Murphy
The allegations from both cases raise questions about campaign finance law, and whether payments made by wealthy supporters to hide a candidate’s extramarital affair should be considered campaign contributions that not only went unreported but exceeded the maximum dollar amount allowed…
Brad Smith, the chairman and founder of the Institute For Free Speech who served on the Federal Elections Commission, said at the time of the Edwards trial that he did not think the payments made by the wealthy donors should be viewed as campaign funds, and had similar views about the Trump case from what details he knew.
“What we said then,” Smith said referring to the Edwards case, “was that generally speaking, not everything that benefits a a candidate is a campaign expense.”
Smith, a Republican, said one has to weigh whether the expense would have been made outside the realm of the campaign such as a “$400 haircut.”
“One of the things with the Trump campaign is I think you have to say that certainly it might have been done anyway,” Smith said. “I think it really can’t be viewed as a campaign finance.”