LifeZette: Porn Star Payment Likely Not Illegal, Says Former FEC Chairman (In the News)

LifeZette: Porn Star Payment Likely Not Illegal, Says Former FEC Chairman

By Kathryn Blackhurst

It “really doesn’t matter” if President Donald Trump or his lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 since there’s a “strong argument” that it wasn’t a campaign expenditure, according to former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith.

“I think that there’s a very strong argument that this is not a campaign contribution and not a campaign expenditure,” Smith told Fox News host Laura Ingraham Thursday night on “The Ingraham Angle.” …

“[T]he basic law in this is that many things that can influence a campaign are not campaign expenditures. And the rule on this is not that something related to the campaign is a campaign expenditure. It’s not that something primarily related to the campaign is a campaign expenditure.”

Smith noted that the FEC “rejected both those options” because a campaign finance law violation would have to be based upon an “obligation that would not exist but for the campaign.”

“I think that there’s a strong argument, at least from what we know publicly, that a man like Trump could say,’ Look, we would have made these payments. Celebrities have to make these kinds of payments all the time,'” Smith said.

Trump and Cohen could have had many reasons to pay off Daniels that were unrelated to the presidential campaign, Smith noted, such as “protecting his family, protecting his commercial viability, just not wanting the distraction.”

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.