Center for Public Integrity: Politicos beware: Court ruling could prompt more transparent campaign spending (In the News)

Center for Public Integrity: Politicos beware: Court ruling could prompt more transparent campaign spending

By Carrie Levine

The decision Friday involved three staffers from the 2012 presidential campaign of Ron Paul, R-Texas. The Paul staff members – Jesse Benton, John Tate and Demetrios Kesari – were convicted in 2016 of charges connected to $73,000 in payments to an Iowa state senator…

The three men made the payments to the state senator, Kent Sorenson, via a third-party video production company…

Lawyers for Benton, Tate and Kesari argued that the law, and FEC precedents, don’t prohibit a campaign paying a vendor who then pays a subcontractor, even if campaign finance reports only show the name of the original vendor. Prosecutors said it was illegal to hide the purpose of the payments, which were described as “audio/visual expenses,” when they were really made in exchange for Sorenson’s endorsement…

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign helped fund an infamous dossier on Trump – the campaign paid law firm Perkins Coie, which then hired a research firm, Fusion GPS, to conduct research on Trump. The Campaign Legal Center accused both Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee of failing to file accurate campaign finance reports and has a complaint pending at the FEC against both entities.

“If I’m Perkins Coie, right now I’m a bit nervous about the reporting of payments to Fusion GPS,” said Brad Smith, a former FEC chairman and current chairman of the Institute for Free Speech.

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